After years of relative quiet, Baltimore-bred R&B singer Mario will co-star in the live musical production of “Rent” Sunday on FOX.
The 32-year-old Mario, whose full name is Mario Dewar Barrett, will appear as landlord Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III and will perform alongside Vanessa Hudgens (“Grease: Live,” “High School Musical”), Kiersey Clemons (“Hearts Beat Loud”), Brandon Victor Dixon (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”), Jordan Fisher (“Hamilton”), Brennin Hunt (“Nashville”), Tinashe (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Valentina (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”).
The “Let Me Love You” singer has previously appeared on the big screen in films like “Step Up,” “Freedom Writers” and the television show “Empire.” He’s recorded five studio albums, including ”Dancing Shadows,” which was released in October.
“Rent” chronicles a group of young creatives battling poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City’s East Village sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The musical is based off Giacomo Puccini’s “La Boheme” opera and has racked up numerous awards since its debut, including three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Baltimore native Marc Platt, whose production resume includes “Wicked,” “La La Land,” and “Mary Poppins Returns,” is the live event’s executive producer.