Fox announced on Monday the star-studded line up for their live production of the musical Rent, according to a report from People.
Vanessa Hudgens has been cast as Maureen, a character that was originated by musical veteran Idina Menzel. The actress and singer originally portrayed the character Mimi in 2010 when a version of Rent was performed at the Hollywood Bowl, but this time around, singer Tinashe will be playing that role. This isn’t the first time around for Hudgens to star in a televised musical production aired on Fox, as she garnered praise from critics after playing Rizzo in Grease: Live.
Other familiar faces include Valentina, who gained a huge fanbase after their appearance on the reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Grammy award-winning Mario will be playing Benny. Some may recognize Mario for his role on the show Empire. In addition, The Greatest Showman‘s Keala Settle will be the soloist that hits the iconic high note during the song “Seasons of Love.” Other members of the cast include Kiersey Clemmons, Brandon Victor Dixon, Jordan Fisher, and Brennin Hunt.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Rent debuted in 1996. The show was created and composed by Jonathan Larson, who tragically passed away from an aortic dissection months before the musical’s Broadway debut. Larson’s estate is helping to executive produce Fox’s version of the musical. Team members from the original ’90s production are also on board for the show, such as Tony-nominated Michael Greif, who directed the New York Theatre Workshop and Broadway productions.
Rent is regarded as groundbreaking in the Broadway industry, as it grappled with topics such as drug addiction and the HIV/AIDS crisis. The musical became so successful that it won multiple Tony awards and was made into a film in 2005. Rent is recognized for its LGBTQ representation as a “rock musical.”
Fox's live rendition of Jonathan Larson's beloved #Rent now has a cast: @VanessaHudgens, @Tinashe, Valentina, @KierseyClemons, @BrandonVDixon, @Jordan_Fisher, Brennin Hunt and @OHYESMARIO will star in the Jan. 27 musical event https://t.co/hFTjiegvoS— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 29, 2018
A separate report from the Hollywood Reporter said that Larson’s sister and father are 100 percent behind the project.
“Rent was Jonathan’s dream of sharing the theater and the passion he had for it with a whole new generation,” Julie and Al Larson said in a statement.
“None of us could have imagined the massive impact that the messages and themes in Rent would have on the theater community or the world… except for Jonathan. We are absolutely thrilled to be continuing Jonathan’s legacy and the still-relevant themes of the show in this way.”
The CEOs of Fox Television Group, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, are also excited for the musical to air.
“The title is so iconic, the music is so beloved, and the themes are as meaningful today as they were when the show first premiered on Broadway,” they said.
Rent Live will air on January 27, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET on Fox.