Soundtrack available on iTunes HERE.
RENT on FOX
Emerson played a new interpretation of "Steve" in the AIDS life support group and the "Waiter" at the Life Cafe in FOX's production of RENT starring Vanessa Hudgens, Valentina, Tinashe, Kiersey Clemons, Mario, Jordan Fisher, Brennin Hunt and Brandon Victor Dixon. He sang the opening solo of "Will I?" also available on the soundtrack. Directed by Michael Grief, musical direction by Stephen Oremus and choreography by Sonya Tayeh. With eleven costume changes and five makeup changes, Emerson played more roles than any actor in the production.
Emerson said of the photo here, "This is Steve. The part of RENT on FOX that was entrusted to my care. We didn’t post any photos or images so it could be impactful in the context of the broadcast.
At my callback with our director Michael Greif, after I sang, he asked, “would you be willing to shave your head and put lesions on your face?” I of course said, “yes, because that’s what was really happening.” It also told me that this incredible artist had a specific vision for the way he wanted to tell this story he helped bring to life in 1996 for this medium.
It was an honor and privilege to be this particular thread in the incredible tapestry of this work, to bring the HIV/AIDS story forward for a generation who may not know the reality of the history.
We talked a lot about the support group, and the original support group it is based on, where all of the names come from real people. Michael told me he wanted this character to be brought to life in a way it had never been done before.
As an actor there is no greater joy than to be part of telling a story you truly believe in. This part, this experience, these people were a gift.
For the Steves and Pams and Alis and Gordons we lost, for the friends and families who mourned them, and those still living with, living with, living with, not dying from disease.
I hope you enjoyed it, I definitely did!"