STAGE TUBE: Neil Patrick Harris Talks Hudgens in RENT
Celebrated performer Neil Patrick Harris will direct the premiere of RENT at the Hollywood Bowl this summer. Responding to the mixed reactions of his casting Vanessa Hudgens as Mimi, Harris has now spoken out in support of the High School Musical actress.
The casting of the premiere of RENT at the Hollywood Bowl was recently completed; Nicole Scherzinger, solo artist, lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls, and this season's winner of Dancing With the Stars, has been announced to play Maureen.
Scherzinger joins previously announced Skylar Astin, Wayne Brady, Vanessa Hudgens, Telly Leung, Collins Pennie, the original "Seasons of Love" vocalist Gwen Stewart, Tracie Thoms, and Aaron Tveit. Neil Patrick Harris will direct the production, with musical direction by Tim Weil and choreography by Jamal Sims.
RENT will have three performances only at the Bowl -- Friday and Saturday August 6 and 7 at 8:30pm, and Sunday August 8 at 7:30pm. Tickets are now on sale, and may be purchased online at HollywoodBowl.com, by phone at 323-850-2000, in person at the Hollywood Bowl box office, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000, and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
Nicole Scherzinger is best known as the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls who's 2005 debut album PCD went double-platinum in America and sold over nine million copies worldwide with several Top-10 hits songs including Don't Cha, Buttons and Stickwitu. Following the success of PCD, Nicole recorded a series of duets and guest vocal appearances with artists such as P.Diddy, 50 Cent, Timbaland, Vittorio and several others.
Nicole also released two solo singles and videos before recording the second Pussycat Dolls Album, Doll Domination, which has sold over 5 million copies containing hits like When I Grow Up and I Hate This Part. She has toured the globe as a headline act for over six years, playing stadiums and arenas and appearing on countless TV shows worldwide. In 2009, Nicole recorded an adaptation of the AR Rahman Song Jai Ho from the film Slumdog Millionaire. The song hit #1 in 17 different countries.
Neil Patrick Harris said, "Nicole had a wonderful audition - she was well prepared, sang beautifully, and had us all laughing. If only she was somewhat attractive and didn't have two left feet... I'm very excited to have finally finished the casting process, and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and start rehearsing."
Also appearing in RENT at the Hollywood Bowl is Vanessa Hudgens, best known for her breakout role in the High School Musical series as Gabriella Montez, for which she received numerous nominations and awards. Emmy winner and Grammy nominee Wayne Brady plays Tom Collins, Aaron Tveit, from Broadway's Pulitzer Prize winning Next to Normal and the upcoming feature film Howl plays Roger, and Skylar Astin, who played Georg in Spring Awakening on Broadway, plays Mark.
Collins Pennie who appeared in the films Fame and the upcoming Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming, plays Benny. Tracie Thoms, a regular on CBS' Cold Case, will be Joanne, a role she played in the film and the final cast of RENT on Broadway. RENT alum Telly Leung will play the role of Angel. Gwen Stewart, the original Broadway vocalist of "Seasons of Love," will join the production as well.
The ensemble of RENT includes Yassmin Alers, Eric B. Anthony, King Aswad, Susan Beaubian, David Burtka, Kathy Deitch, Sam Given, Rachael Harris, Tricia Kelly, Ethan Le Phong, Kristolyn Lloyd, Zarah Mahler, Laura Mixon, Jason Paige, Miri Park, and Brandon Wardell
Tim Weil, the original Musical Supervisor and Conductor for RENT on Broadway, and Musical Supervisor for the 2009 US Tour of RENT will serve as Musical Director of the Hollywood Bowl's fully staged production. Jamal Sims, who was an associate choreographer of the film Hairspray, co-choreographed the 82nd Academy Awards, and was assistant choreographer of the Madonna: Sticky and Sweet Tour, will choreograph, working with Neil Patrick Harris who makes his debut directing a musical with this production.
With a 12-year run on Broadway, a Tony Award for Best Musical, and a Pulitzer Prize, RENT is one of the most groundbreaking and popular shows of all time. This year the Hollywood Bowl's annual fully staged musical brings to life "La Vie Bohème", "Seasons of Love" and all the songs that made RENT such a hit.
RENT, written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, opened at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996, following a history making, sold-out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama. With 5,124 performances, RENT is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and is home to the best and brightest in all genres of music. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 42nd season. In January 2009, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fifth year in a row at the 20th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.