'High School Musical' Cast -- Then & Now

The standout musical marks its triumphant return with a new production after 12 successful years on Broadway and four Tonys including Best Musical, Book and Score!

Perennial Broadway favorite "Rent" will have its shot at live musical glory as it becomes the latest smash show to take a bow on live TV tonight on Fox.

The live production features a who's who of stars from the various live musicals we've been gifted since Carrie Underwood soared in "The Sound of Music Live!" way back in 2013. Fresh from "Grease: Live," we've got Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher, while "Jesus Christ Superstar" standout Brandon Victor Dixon is sure to shine again.

Other notable figures from television include "Dancing with the Stars" alum Tinashe, "X Factor" contestant Brennin Hunt and "RuPaul's Drag Race" superstar Valentina. They're joined by R&B star Mario and "Angie Tribeca" star Maria Charo in the main cast.

Originally premiering more than two decades ago in 1996 on Broadway, "Rent" was the brainchild of composer and playwright Jonathan Larson, who would tragically die of an undiagnosed aneurysm at age 35 one day after the show's final dress rehearsal. He would never see its success or impact on the nation.

Dealing with LBGTQ issues that were oft brushed under the rug in the 1990s while telling the story of a group of young starving artists seeking their fame and fortune in the Big Apple, the production feels just as relevant to modern audiences as LGBTQ issues have risen again to the forefront and the promise of tomorrow seems as shaky as ever.

Below are six reasons why you should tune in:

Vanessa Freakin' Hudgens

There's no doubt that Vanessa Hudgens slayed as Rizzo in Fox's last live musical, "Grease." But Rizzo is a far cry from Maureen, a role originated by none other than the iconic Adele Dazeem (Idina Menzel, for the uninitiated).

Hudgens steps up to the plate, proving she has the necessary vocal power to tackle such a beloved character.

Valentina Takes the Mask Off and Turns the Vocals On

Forget lip-syncing for her life, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' fan favorite Valentina is LIVE-SINGING for the Life Cafe!

While Valentina may have doomed herself on 'RPDR' by lip-syncing from behind a mask, she finds redemption here as Angel, crooning live and hitting those high notes!

Measure Your Life in Love

The show opens with a powerful message that, unless you're living under a rock, will no doubt resonate with you as a human being alive in 2019:

"In these dangerous times, where it seems the world is ripping apart at the seams, we can all learn how to survive from those who stare death squarely in the face every day and [we] should reach out to each other and bond as a community, rather than hide from the terrors of life."

You'd be forgiven if you thought this epigraph was a special message from the show's producers, explaining why "Rent" is relevant some 20+ years after its debut. But in fact these words were written by 'Rent' creator Jonathan Larson himself shortly before he died.

It's a timely reminder that we've been here before, and that love is the answer.

Tinashe Wants To Take You Ouuuuut Tonight

Tinashe's take on Mimi's sultry number "Take Me Out Tonight" is one of the real joys of this show. It's a perfectly proportioned blend of pop, rock, sex and punk.

And though the staging really puts her through it -- she sings and dances across scaffolding in a pair of very tight hot pants -- she hits all the right notes.

Brandon Victor Dixon Stans, Your Superstar Has Returned

"Hamilton" alum Brandon Victor Dixon won over a whole new set of super fans with his performance in the live musical version of "Jesus Christ Superstar." Thankfully, the powers that be decided his vocal stylings were exactly what was needed to fill the shoes of Tom Collins.

And should you have any doubt, just take a listen.

The OGs are Back, B*tches

And that's all we can say about that. (Spill anything more, and we'd break our NDAs).

Watch 'Rent, Live' on Fox Sunday at 8/7 central.

Hot Videos

Advertisement