Musical Theatre West Presents RENT, Runs 12/11-20

Musical Theatre West is proud to announce that Jai Rodriguez, star of Bravo TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is featured in the cast line up for their production of the Jonathan Larson Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-Winning smash Rent are available now. Rent will run December 11-20, 2009 at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center located at 6200 Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA 90815.

Emmy Award ® winning Host/Singer Jai Rodriguez began his career at age 18 when he was cast in the role of Angel - in the culturally prolific Broadway Musical RENT. A graduate of the Long Island Center for Performing Arts in New York - Jai continued his Broadway career in shows like; The Producers, Spinning Into Butter and creating the title role of Zanna in the Off Broadway sensation - Zanna Don't! In tandem with his Broadway career - Jai became a veritable star in the firmament of New York City Nightlife - when he created his long running Twisted Cabaret, a concert series that ran for three consecutive years at one of New York City's most notable hotpots - Club XL. Most recognized for his role in BRAVO'S culturally groundbreaking series: Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, Jai created a niche role on the Emmy Award ® Winning Series as the ‘Culture Vulture' a youthfully savvy addition to the show's already dynamic cast. Working regularly as an authority in culture and style, Jai can has been cast as host for a veritable grab-bag of successful shows including; Styleyes Miami (SiTv), America's Prom Queen (ABC Family), Ultimate Style (Style Network), two consecutive season's of Groomer Has It (Animal Planet), and Model Latina (SiTv). As an actor, Jai continues to work regularly in guest starring roles on LOGO'S series Rick and Steve, FX's Nip/Tuck and several forthcoming roles currently under production. Garnering one of the lead roles in the upcoming feature film; Oy Vey My Son Is Gay. Jai's musical endeavors continue to thrive both in and out of the recording studio - with the launch of his one-man shows - XPOSED and MyTruth, performing in both Los Angeles and New York City. A dynamic vocalist, Jai has had the honor of sharing the stage with musical legends like, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Brian McKnight, Taylor
Dayne and Michelle Williams. Exploring his knack for popular music - Jai is continuing to work on his recording career - having released the singles ‘Broken' and ‘Move' now available directly through iTunes. Jai currently resides in Los Angeles.

The cast of RENT includes: Beau Hirshfield, P.J. Griffith, Sabrina Sloan, Jai Rodriguez, Mel Robert, Nicole Tillman, Callie Carson, Andrew Johnson, Nick Lorenzini, Alex Alvarez, Michael Sky Moon, Jino Pereze Ray, Amber Mercomes, Valerie Rose Curiel and Anna Schnaitter.

RENT will be directed by the Ovation nominated, Nick DeGruccio, choreographed by Alison Porter and musical direction will be under the hand of Michael Paternostro.

Musical Theatre West is proud to produce RENT at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Rent is being offered as a bonus special engagement in MTW's 2009-2010 Season. MTW has solidified its reputation as Southern California's Premiere Musical Theatre Company whose audiences and critics alike agree that recent productions of The Producers and All Shook Up surpassed the National Tour productions, and has produced regional premieres of The Andrews Brothers and Forbidden Broadway, (both Ovation nominations) to additional acclaim. Indeed, Musical Theatre West is "currently the Southland's finest" musical theatre company (BackStage West) and "sets the bar for musical theatre in Southern California" (Gazette Newspapers). MTW is excited to be the first regional theatre to produce this show in the Los Angeles area. MTW Associate Artistic Director/Producer Steven Glaudini states, "we are extremely honored to be the first professional regional theatre company to produce our own production of this Pulitzer Prize-winning phenomenon."

Tickets are available for every budget. Tickets range from $30-$80. All tickets are available by calling the Box Office at (562) 856-1999 x4, in person at 4350 E. 7th Street, Long Beach (corner of Ximeno Avenue), or online at

Rent performance dates and time are as follows:

Friday, December 11 - 8:00 PM

Saturday, December 12 - 2:00 PM

Saturday, December 12 - 8:00 PM - Gala Performance

Sunday, December 13 - 2:00 PM

Sunday, December 13 - 7:00 PM

Thursday, December 17 - 8:00 PM

Friday, December 18 - 8:00 PM

Saturday, December 19 - 2:00 PM

Saturday, December 19 - 8:00 PM

Sunday, December 20 - 2:00 PM

Rent is one of the most popular musicals in theater history. With a twelve-year run on Broadway, the show is an update of the Puccini's La Boheme, but takes place in late 20th century New York. The gritty subject material and powerful songs of Jonathon Larson combines to make the show a new icon of modern musical theater. Larson set out to transform the tragic opera into a modern day New York setting, complete with rock music. Adding to the legend of the show is the tragic death of Larson at age 35 The Day Before the show's New York opening.

The story of Rent follows the lives of a group of young artists in New York City's East Village. In addition to being too poor to pay rent on their apartments, several of the members of the group are HIV positive. The play revolves around three couples, Collins and the cross-dressing Angel, the often-fighting Mimi and Roger, and the always-fighting Joanne and Maureen. The final member of the group is Mark, a filmmaker who spends more time taping the lives of his friends than he spends living his own life. All of the members of the group refuse to live a traditional lifestyle, embracing bohemian concepts and surviving as well as they can.

In 1996, the Broadway community would award Rent four Tony Awards, for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who played Angel. Rent also received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, only the seventh musical to do so.


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