10:45am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Rent': Vanessa Hudgens, Tinashe and Valentina Among Cast of Fox's Live Musical
Fox's live rendition of Jonathan Larson's beloved Rent now has a cast.
Vanessa Hudgens (Grease Live), singer Tinashe, Valentina (RuPaul's Drag Race), Kiersey Clemons (Dope, The Flash feature), Brandon Victor Dixon (Jesus Christ Superstar Live), Jordan Fisher (Grease Live), Brennin Hunt (Walking With Herb) and Grammy winner Mario (Empire) will star in the Jan. 27 live musical, with Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman) performing the famed track "Seasons of Love."
Based on Larson's Tony-winning musical, Rent is a rock musical loosely based on La Boheme that tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York's East Village in the days of the Bohemian Alphabet City and under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
Hudgens will play Maureen Johnson, an outgoing performance artist who is not afraid to take on the establishment. Clemons will play Joanne Jefferson, Maureen's girlfriend and an Ivy League-educated lawyer.
Dixon is set as Tom Collins, a computer scientist who returns to New York after being expelled from MIT. Valentina will play Angel Dumont Schunard, a young drag queen and street percussionist who embraces life and lives it to its fullest.
Fisher is the central character of Mark Cohen, an aspiring filmmaker, who serves as the show’s narrator, while filming the lives of his friends. Hunt plays Roger Davis, a struggling musician and Mark’s roommate and best friend.
Tinashe will portray Mimi Marquez, a dancer who struggles with addiction. Mario will take on the role of Benjamin Coffin III, Mark and Roger’s former roommate-turned-landlord, who is after their rent.
Larson's estate is on board to executive produce the 20th Century Fox TV production alongside Marc Platt (La La Land, Wicked), Adam Siegel, Julie Larson, Allan Larson and Revolution Studios' Vince Totino, Scott Hemming and Marla Levine. Rent marks Platt's latest live project for following NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar and Fox's A Christmas Story and last year's Grease. Tony nominee Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen), who helmed the original New York Theatre Workshop and Broadway productions of Rent, is the director overseeing the stage. Alex Rudzinski (Grease Live) will serve as the live television director.
In addition to Greif, creative team members from the original Broadway production of Rent have also joined the Fox live event, including casting director Bernie Telsey and costume designer Angela Wendt. Kristoffer Diaz will pen the Rent adaptation for television; Al Gurdon is set as the lighting designer; Tony and Grammy winner Stephen Oremus is on board as the music director and producer; Jason Sherwood will serve as the set designer; and Sonya Tayeh is the choreographer.
Clemons, whose credits include Hearts Beat Loud, Transparent and Easy as well as the upcoming Lady and the Tramp, is repped by UTA and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Dixon, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role in NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live and counts Broadway's Hamilton, The Color Purple and off-Broadway productions of Rent, is with CESD and Management 360. Fisher, who won the 25th season of Dancing With the Stars and counts Fox's Grease Live, Hamilton and Moana, is with Abrams Artists and Michael Morales. Hudgens, whose TV credits include High School Musical and Powerless and who made her Broadway debut in Gigi, is with CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham. Hunt is filming his first movie role, Walking With Herb, due in 2019. Mario, currently recurring on Empire and counts Step Up among his credits, is with Universal Attractions. Tinashe, who has toured with Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5 and recently released her second album, Joyride, is with CAA and CESD. Valentina is returning to the Drag Race franchise and will compete in the All Stars season. Settle, who broke out with her role as the bearded woman in The Greatest Showman and whose theater credits include Hands on a Hardbody, Waitress, Les Mis and Hairspray, is with Industry Entertainment and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.