Drag Race’s Valentina cast in Fox’s live TV production of Rent
Drag Race contestant Valentina has been cast in Fox’s upcoming live TV production of Rent.
The drag star, who appeared on the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is part of the diverse all-star cast for the production of Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent, which is set during the AIDS crisis.
She will take on the role of HIV-positive drag queen Angel in the TV musical, according to a cast list revealed by Variety on Monday (October 29).
Valentina is far from the only famous face in the cast, with former High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens set to play bisexual performance artist Maureen.
Former Hamilton star Jordan Fisher will play the lead role of Mark, while another ex-Hamilton performer, Brandon Victor Dixon, will take on the role of Tom Collins.
Newcomer Brennin Hunt will play Roger, opposite “2 On” singer Tinashe as Mimi.
Dope actor Kiersey Clemons and Empire actor singer Mario round out the cast as Joanne and Benny.
Original Rent director Michal Geif will return to oversee the stage direction.
The live production will take place on January 27, 2019, airing on Fox in the US.
The 1996 musical is one of the best-known artistic works to attempt to tackle the AIDS crisis, with the majority of the characters being HIV-positive and LGBT+.
In 2017, a high school came under fire for changing the illness in a production of Rent from AIDS to diabetes.
Fox has previously staged two live TV musicals, 2016’s Grease: Live and 2017’s A Christmas Story Live!
Rival broadcaster NBC has had more success with its productions, which include Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Hairspray Live! and The Sound of Music Live!
Valentina is best remembered by RuPaul’s Drag Race fans for her shock elimination, after failing to learn the words to Ariana Grande song “Greedy” for the show’s lip sync dance-off.
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She was later awarded the title of Miss Congeniality by a fan vote.
The star is not the only Drag Race alum to be heading into musical theatre.
Transgender drag star Peppermint, who also appeared on season nine of Drag Race, made her Broadway debut in The Go-Go’s-inspired musical Head Over Heels in June, making her the first trans woman to originate a major role on Broadway.
A New York Times theatre critic apologised in July for posting a review that took aim at the non-binary identity of Peppermint’s character.
The New York Times later amended the review to omit the section that had provoked a negative reaction from fans.