Rent, Take Two

Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway hopes to erase memories of that ill-received Hollywood adaptation, and as Maureen, Eden Espinosa has just the stuff to make it happen.

BY Charles Romaine

February 17 2009 12:00 AM ET

RENT CAST X390 (COLUMBIA) | ADVOCATE.COM

Without naming any names, have you ever had any bad
experiences?

No ... thankfully, no bad experiences. I will tell you being
thrown into an established cast is hard. When there are already
relationships formed, people used to working with someone else
... that can be challenging.

I've read that your father is a minister and Christian
composer. Has there been any conflict with your family or in
reconciling your Christian background with the fact that you
work with and have so many gay friends in your life?

No, no ... my father is a teacher. He was the worship leader at
our church when I was growing up. There has never been an issue
from my family. They love all of my friends and consider them
part of their own family. I have my own faith, but I am removed
from the church.

Like you, I grew up in Southern California. Growing up, most
of my musical theater references came from the MGM movies. It
wasn't until
Rent

opened down at the La Jolla Playhouse that I really had that
theatrical experience. I became a West Coast "Rent
Head" at 16. Is there one show that did that for you?

My grandmother used to take me to dinner theaters, but yeah, I
watched a lot of the movie musicals and was obsessed with them.
It wasn't until high school that I realized I wanted to do this
as a profession. When I was a senior in high school I was doing
a show at Disneyland. One day my friend played the
Rent

soundtrack for me, and that was it for me. It's what I wanted
to do. I mean, I can do legit and stuff ... but I really wanted
to just rock out!

You did
Flora, the Red Menace

at Reprise last year. That score is so beautiful. Can
you tell me a little bit about that experience?

I had finished
Wicked

and my agents were contacted about my doing the show. I went on
vacation, met with the director when I got back, and was
offered the part. I honestly had never heard of the show before
agreeing to do it, so I did my research and realized it was
written by Kander and Ebb and it was Liza's first Broadway
show. I was beginning to feel a lot of pressure from the whole
"Liza" thing, so I made it a point not to listen to the
soundtrack while learning it. The whole experience at Reprise
is intense. It's literally 10 days of rehearsals, two days of
tech, and that's it.

That's insane! How did
Rent

come into your life? Did you know that you would be part of the
closing cast going into the production?

Right before
Flora

I was asked to be in the closing cast of
Rent.

They actually wanted me to go into the show earlier, but at
that point I was committed to
Flora

and wanted to honor that. I had wanted to do
Rent

for 12 years. I auditioned every time it came to L.A. I
auditioned for the movie. I had finally gotten to the point
where I was resigned to never doing it.

Tags: Theater

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