“Rent” is the musical that just keeps on giving. It has been tugging at the heartstrings of audiences for two decades, with countless stage productions worldwide and even a big-screen adaptation in 2005 with several members of the original cast.
Still riding the success of “Grease Live!” Fox has announced that “Rent” is now on the docket as its next live musical. With few details on the production available, the question remains of who will play Jonathan Larson’s iconic characters.
Here are some possible actors we’d like to see considered for “Rent Live:”
1. Leslie Odom Jr.
Best known for his Tony Award-winning performance as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” Leslie Odom Jr. has actually appeared in a Broadway production of “Rent,” as well as a staging of “Tick, Tick…Boom!” alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo.
2. Anna Kendrick
Will someone please put this woman in a live musical, already? Anna Kendrick has proven time and time again that she has some serious vocal abilities and continues to wow audiences in movie-musical roles.
3. Ben Platt
Broadway and film favorite Ben Platt is a triple-threat talent riding high on the success of award-season favorite “Dear Evan Hansen.” Casting him in “Rent Live” would please both his Broadway and movie fans.
4. Amber Riley
Yes, the former “Glee” star has already done a live television musical, appearing in NBC’s “The Wiz” back in 2015. However, that just means she can bring experience as well as the incredible vocals she’s currently turning heads with in “Dreamgirls” on the West End.
5. Jonathan Groff
Jonathan Groff has seemingly done it all, from theatre, television and movies to voice work for the film you can never really get away from, “Frozen.” The only thing left would be a live television musical. He really should check this one off his list!
6. Denée Benton
Tony-nominated actress Denée Benton made her Broadway debut this past year in “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” and created quite the buzz. The “Rent Live” musical would be a great opportunity for this rising musical theatre star.
7. Daveed Diggs
Since his exit from “Hamilton,” Daveed Diggs has been awfully busy acting, rapping, producing and giving the world intense hair envy. Diggs would be a welcome addition to “Rent Live,” as he is a natural both onstage and in front of the camera.
8. Lea Michele
It’s somewhat surprising Lea Michele has yet to participate in a live musical given both her Broadway and television history. Her triple-threat status would make her a natural fit.
9. Jordan Fisher
One of the problems with the successful “Grease Live!” was not enough Jordan Fisher. His vocal ability is stunning, and “Rent Live” deserves him.
10. Renee Elise Goldsberry
The “Hamilton” star was the last actress to play Mimi in the Broadway version of “Rent,” so it seems fitting the powerhouse performer should join the cast of the live television event.
11. Skylar Astin
Skylar Astin is equally talented as his fictional “Pitch Perfect” roommate, Platt. He also boasts some “Rent” experience, having played the role of Mark in the star-studded production produced by Neil Patrick Harris at the Hollywood Bowl.
12. Karen Olivo
Tony Award-winning actress Olivo is a Broadway favorite and has some television experience. Her electric voice and onstage sass make her the perfect fit for the television musical. She can do “Hamilton” in Chicago and “Rent Live,” right?
13. Darren Criss
When Broadway and television actor Darren Criss hosted the behind-the-scenes experience of “Hairspray Live,” the question on everyone’s mind was why he wasn’t in the performance. Hopefully, viewers won’t miss out on seeing Criss perform this time around.
14. Kelley Jakle
While Kelley Jakle’s resume lists her as a three-time Bella in the “Pitch Perfect” series along Kendrick, she’s also a regular in the California theatre scene, with starring roles in “Marilyn” and an adaptation of the film “Almost Famous.”
15. Corbin Bleu
Formerly of “High School Musical” fame, Corbin Bleu has proven he’s more than just a Disney kid. It’s safe to say he’s familiar with the cameras, and with Broadway roles in productions of “In the Heights” and “Holiday Inn,” he’s proving to be a natural fit for a live television musical.
16. Ester Dean
A staple of the “Pitch Perfect” series, Esther Dean is a fan favorite and a triple threat ready for her television musical debut.
17. Justin Timberlake
He can sing, he can dance and he’s so good on live television that he’s hosted “Saturday Night Live” five times. Enough said.
18. Ashleigh Murray
Ashleigh Murray caught her big break when she scored the role of Josie McCoy in the Archie Comics reboot, “Riverdale,” and showed off her musical talent as the lead singer of the famed Josie and the Pussycats. With her career just taking off, it would be interesting to see Murray expand into musical theatre.
19. Blake Jenner
“Glee” alum Blake Jenner can undoubtedly sing and dance, and his recent performance as Hailee Steinfeld’s brooding brother in “The Edge of Seventeen” gives credit to his ability to take on the serious emotional content of “Rent.”
Regardless of casting, “Rent Live” is guaranteed to be a performance worth watching. Most importantly, the show will continue the legacy of Larson, spreading his message of love and acceptance to a new generation of fans worldwide.