RENT: Live is just a few short days away. Have you done your studying, fellow theater kids? Are we ready for this? The correct answer is: We're ready, but we're also nervous. Dear, FOX, please don't ruin this musical! It is very precious to us! Protect it at all costs! The actors entrusted with the iconic roles of Mark, Mimi, Roger, Maureen, Angel, Joanne, and Collins all have big shoes to fill, so who is Brennin Hunt? The actor has been tapped to take on the role of rocker heartthrob Roger, originally played by Adam Pascal in both the original Broadway cast and film.
Brennin Hunt, for starters, first rose to fame when he competed on the debut season of the U.S. version of The X Factor. He competed as — you guessed it — a singer. So first Roger box checked. He didn't end up winning The X Factor, but he did go on to continue his music career, as well as dabble a little bit in acting.
According to Brennin Hunt's IMDb profile, the Nashville native guest starred in an episode of Nashville in 2015 as the character Sullivan Fitzgerald. He's also going to be seen in the upcoming film Walking With Herb. But RENT: Live will be Hunt's first scripted TV appearance since Nashville, and definitely his most high-profile TV gig to date.
So let's ask the question every theater kid is thinking: Is he ~edgy~ enough to be Roger? The edgiest, most precious, emo boy of them all?!
Well, his voice is sure as hell raspy enough. Check out his X Factor audition.
Someone just needs to hold my hand as he belts that "MiMIIIIIII" note near the end of the show. It's a tricky note! Not everyone can hit it! Please, for the love of Jonathan Larson, don't mess that note up, Brennin!!
Hunt has released some original music over the years as well. You can look through his catalog of tunes on his website or on streaming services.
Hunt will join the ranks of a pretty famous cast when he takes the RENT: Live stage on Jan. 27.
Vanessa Hudgens is taking on the role of Maureen, Brandon Victor Dixon (who recently played Judas alongside John Legend's Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE) is Collins, Valentina of RuPaul's Drag Race is Angel, Tinashe is Mimi, Hamilton actor Jordan Fisher is Mark, Kiersy Clemons is Joanne, and R&B crooner Mario is Benny. The Greatest Showman's Keala Settle will also appear to sing Joanna's iconic solo in "Seasons of Love."
Brandon Victor Dixon said in a Q&A with fans on his Instagram story on Jan. 15 that RENT: Live is going to be more similar to the style of Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE than Hairspray LIVE. That's probably because RENT and Jesus Christ Superstar are both completely sung-through musicals while Hairspray has a bunch of spoken dialogue, so naturally the two former shows are going to be more of a concert vibe than the latter.
I'm very, very nervous about this, y'all! Let's hope they don't f*ck it up! No day but Jan. 27, am I right?!