The newest live television musical is finally here, and Fox went with a doozy this time around. Rent is one of the most popular and successful modern musicals, leading to a 2005 movie that also became a massive hit. Now, everyone will get to see a live version of the smash production, and with a pretty incredible cast to boot. One of the most exciting cast members is Vanessa Hudgens, who has actually performed in Rent before. And anyone who may be asking is Vanessa Hudgens lip-syncing in Rent: Live can rest assured that she really is belting out those iconic songs live.
Vanessa Hudgens is playing the role of Maureen Johnson in Rent: Live, a bisexual performance artist who dumps Mark Cohen (played by Jordan Fisher) to date the more reserved lawyer Joanne Jefferson (played by Kiersey Clemons). Maureen is a major part that involves a lot of singing, and fans will likely be most excited to see Hudgens take on Maureen's biggest song: "Take Me or Leave Me," a belting duet with Joanne. The part of Maureen was most famously portrayed by Idina Menzel in both the original Broadway cast and in the 2005 movie.
Interestingly enough, the Fox live special will not be Vanessa Hudgens' first time performing in a production of Rent. Back in 2010, Hudgens starred in the Hollywood Bowl's staging of the musical, but not as Maureen. Hudgens played Mimi Márquez, the erotic dancer who is addicted to drugs and is HIV-positive. For people who got to see Hudgens in the role of Mimi, it will definitely be fun to compare her previous performance to her take on Maureen. In the Fox live staging, the pop singer Tinashe will play Mimi.
The rest of the Rent: Live cast is rounded out with Hamilton breakout Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, The X Factor contestant Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, recent Jesus Christ Superstar show-stealer Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, RuPaul's Drag Race star Valentina as Angel Dumott Schunard, former Disney Channel star Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, and R&B singer Mario as Benjamin Coffin III. Everyone in this cast has a background in singing, and most of them also have extensive experience on Broadway as well, so viewers of the new live musical on Fox should definitely not think that anyone is lip-syncing.
Fox even gave fans a taste of the cast's singing abilities in a short promo clip ahead of the musical, in which the cast sings part of Rent's most iconic song: "Seasons of Love."
As for Vanessa Hudgens in particular, there is no question that she can sing and nail a musical amazingly. Of course, Hudgens' breakout role was starring in the Disney Channel hit musical movie High School Musical and she also had a pop music career after that, but some fans may not know that her experience on the stage actually predates her film acting. As a child, she starred in productions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, The King and I, Damn Yankees, and The Wizard of Oz.
In recent years, Vanessa Hudgens has returned to stage acting, starring in Kennedy Center performances of Gigi and In the Heights. Basically, this all adds up to that fact that Hudgens is more than ready to slay her performance in Rent: Live.