Actor/director Andy Señor, Jr. on taking ‘Rent’ to Cuba

Andy Señor, Jr. (far right) and the cast of RENT in Cuba. Photo by Carlos E Gonzalez/Courtesy HBO

Nearly 25 years ago, “Rent” took Broadway by storm. The show focuses on struggling artists in the East Village during the late 1990s, dealing with the AIDS crisis. A film adaptation later followed. 

A few years ago, “Rent” became the first Broadway musical performed in Cuba in 50 years. That musical was directed by Andy Señor, Jr. Previously, he spent nearly a decade performing the role of Angel in the Broadway production. He’s also Cuban-American. His parents fled Castro and communism for the U.S. He tells that story in a new documentary called “Revolution Rent.” 

“There's still no show that's like that. [It’s] written with such truth and such a real response. Jonathan [Larson] wrote [Rent] as a response to what was going on with his friends in the face of the AIDS crisis,” Señor says. “There's so much inside those chords and those melodies, and to be able to do that on a nightly basis was a once in a lifetime experience.”