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Vanessa Hudgens, Brandon Victor Dixon Lead Cast of FOX's 'Rent Live'

FOX has announced the full cast for the upcoming live musical event RENT, airing Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed).

Actress Kiersey Clemons (“Hearts Beat Loud”), Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Brandon Victor Dixon (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”), singer/songwriter Jordan Fisher (“Hamilton,” 2017 winner of “Dancing with the Stars”), actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens (“Second Act,” “Grease: Live”), newcomer and singer/songwriter Brennin Hunt (“Nashville”), R&B/Pop superstar Mario (EMPIRE), recording artist Tinashe (“Dancing with the Stars”) and performer Valentina (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) are set to star in the highly anticipated live musical event. Additionally, Keala Settle will perform the iconic solo from “Seasons of Love” and join the ensemble in the live musical.

The groundbreaking, Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is a re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” and set in New York City’s gritty East Village. “Rent” tells the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil. Winner of four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s tour de force continues to offer an inspiring message of hope and friendship.

Below is a cast breakdown:

  • Kiersey Clemons as JOANNE JEFFERSON, Maureen’s girlfriend and an Ivy League-educated lawyer.

  • Brandon Victor Dixon as TOM COLLINS, the computer scientist who returns to New York after being expelled from MIT. 

  • Jordan Fisher as MARK COHEN, an aspiring filmmaker, who serves as the show’s narrator, while filming the lives of his friends.

  • Vanessa Hudgens as MAUREEN JOHNSON, the outgoing performance artist who’s not afraid to take on the establishment.

  • Brennin Hunt as ROGER DAVIS, a struggling musician and Mark’s roommate and best friend.

  • Mario as BENJAMIN COFFIN III, Mark and Roger’s former roommate-turned-landlord, who is after their rent.

  • Tinashe as MIMI MARQUEZ, the dancer who struggles with addiction.

  • Valentina as ANGEL DUMONT SCHUNARD, a young drag queen and street percussionist who embraces life and lives it to its fullest.

The television adaptation will be broadcast from the historic Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Acclaimed film, television and theater producer Marc Platt (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” “Grease: Live,” “La La Land,” “Wicked”), along with the estate of writer/composer Jonathan Larson, will executive-produce the event. Tony Award-nominated director Michael Greif (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “Rent”), who directed the original New York Theatre Workshop and Broadway productions of “Rent,” is the director overseeing the stage direction; and Alex Rudzinski (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” “Grease: Live,” “Dancing with the Stars”) will serve as the live television director.

In addition to Greif, creative team members from the original Broadway production of “Rent” returning for the television adaptation include Emmy Award-winning casting director Bernie Telsey and costume designer Angela Wendt. Additional creative team members include Obie Award winner Kristoffer Diaz writing the adaptation for television, Emmy Award winner Al Gurdon as lighting designer, Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Stephen Oremus as music director and producer, Jason Sherwood as set designer and two-time Emmy Award nominee Sonya Tayeh as choreographer.

“Rent” originally was produced in New York by New York Theatre Workshop and on Broadway by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theatre Workshop.

Actress and musician Kiersey Clemons recently was cast in the upcoming feature installment of “The Flash” franchise as the iconic “Iris West.” Her other credits include the hit Sundance film “Hearts Beat Loud,” “Dope,” “Transparent,” “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” “Flatliners” and “Easy.”  Additionally, she is currently shooting the starring role of “Darling” in the upcoming live-action feature “Lady and the Tramp,” and will join the cast on the upcoming season of “Angie Tribeca.”

Brandon Victor Dixon most recently starred in "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award and he can currently be seen on the series “Power.” On Broadway, he most recently starred in “Hamilton.”  Previous Broadway credits include “Shuffle Along” (Tony Award nomination), “Motown The Musical” (Grammy nomination), and “The Color Purple” (Tony Award nomination), the national tour of “The Lion King,” off-Broadway productions of “F**king A,” “Rent” and “The Scottsboro Boys.” Television credits include “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “One Life to Live,” “The Good Wife,” “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” and Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It.” Dixon’s debut single, “#WeAre” is currently available for download on iTunes, with all proceeds benefitting YoungNewYorkers.org. Dixon was raised in Maryland, and is a graduate of Columbia University.

Jordan Fisher recently won the 25th season of “Dancing with the Stars.” He also has starred in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Liv and Maddie,” “Teen Wolf,” “Teen Beach Movie” and its sequel, before co-starring in FOX’s Emmy-winning “Grease: Live.” In 2016, Fisher released his self-titled EP, which debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart. He collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda on “You’re Welcome” from “Moana,” and also joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton.” Fisher is in the upcoming reboot of “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.” He currently co-hosts “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,” alongside Frankie Muniz.

Vanessa Hudgens began her work in musical theater at a young age, in shows such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “The King & I,” “The Music Man” and “Cinderella.” In 2016, she starred in FOX’s “Grease: Live,” which was nominated for 10 Emmys and won five, the most ever for a Special Class program. In 2015, she made her Broadway debut, starring in the title role of the beloved Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning film and stage musical “Gigi.” Her film credits include “Thirteen” and “Spring Breakers,” and the upcoming “Second Act.” Her television credits include “High School Musical” and the action comedy “Powerless,” set in the DC universe. In 2010, Hudgens won the ShoWest Award for “Female Star of Tomorrow.”

Brennin Hunt is currently filming his first movie role in “Walking With Herb.” The movie is set for release in 2019, and will feature Hunt’s original song, “Can’t Hold a Candle.” Hunt began his songwriting career with “I Can’t Do This,” which was recorded and co-written by Vince Gill. In 2016, he was featured in Rolling Stone Country as one of the 10 Artists You Need To Know. In 2017, he partnered with YWCA for his single, “Rip off the Rearview,” featuring Gill.

Mario is a Grammy Award-nominated, multi-Platinum-selling singer, songwriter, producer and actor.  He was discovered at the age of 11 and, three years later, signed a recording contract with music legend Clive Davis. Mario’s eponymous debut studio album rolled out in 2002, featuring his first Top Five R&B/pop hit, “Just a Friend 2002.” Two years later, Mario revisited the Billboard charts with “Turning Point.” The Platinum-selling album spun off the melodic double-Platinum Hot 100 chart-topper “Let Me Love You,” and placed Mario on Billboard magazine's Artist of the Decade list. Rounding out Mario’s album catalog are 2007’s “Go,” featuring the Gold-certified single “Crying Out for Me”; and 2009’s “D.N.A.,” for which the lead single, “Break Up,” with guests Sean Garrett and Gucci Mane, also went Gold and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart/No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now, Mario is back with the release of his eagerly awaited fifth studio album, “Dancing Shadows,” which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes R&B/Soul chart. He also currently has a recurring role on FOX’s EMPIRE.  

Music artist Tinashe broke into the R&B spotlight in 2014 with her double-Platinum hit, “2 On,” which landed in the Top 20 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. She has toured with Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5. She also has an established career in fashion, where she has worked with brands such as Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren, Chanel and Juicy Couture. Tinashe recently released her sophomore album, “Joyride.”

Valentina is known for competing on the ninth season of Emmy winning “RuPaul's Drag Race” and will return to “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.” He was awarded the Miss Congeniality award, voted by the fans. Valentina has appeared in Elle magazine Mexico, Paper magazine and Vogue.com, as well as on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” and “Access Hollywood.” He currently is the face of Mexican fashion designer Benito Santos’ latest collection.

Keala Settle most recently portrayed bearded woman “Lettie Lutz” in the feature musical “The Greatest Showman.” The film’s song, “This Is Me,” won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Settle made her Broadway debut in 2011 in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” She originated the role of “Norma Valverde” in “Hands on a Hardbody” and was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Settle originated the role of “Becky” in the musical “Waitress,” and played the roles of “Madame Thenardier” in the revival of “Les Misérables” and “Tracy Turnblad” in the national tour of “Hairspray.”

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