12.26.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes / How do you measure, measure a year?”

If you are familiar with the Broadway show “RENT” — and let’s face it, if you’re reading this then you probably are — you know the answer to that question is “love, seasons of love.” Well, for me I measure a year by pop culture’s five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred “best of” year-end lists. All the greatest magazines, entertainment shows, YouTube channels and Starbucks baristas have them. Heck, this very issue of Watermark, our annual Year in Review, has an A-Z list of the best moments in LGBTQ pop culture.

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Company manager Jose Solivan makes sure everything goes right for ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: “The Play That Goes Wrong” company manager Jose Solivan. (Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic)

The company manager for a national Broadway tour has a lot of responsibility.

“I’m basically the producer’s and the general manager’s representative on the road,” says Jose Solivan. “I deal with payroll, with travel, the housing, a lot of the marketing and advertising and playbill edit. I’m essentially HR, accounting, Mom and Dad, a shoulder to cry on.”

Solivan is the company manger for the national tour of “The Play That Goes Wrong,” a hugely popular show in where a fictional college drama society is putting on a fictitious murder mystery play where everything goes completely and terribly wrong.

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Anthony Rapp announces engagement to partner

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Anthony Rapp and Ken Ithipol, photo courtesy Rapp’s Twitter.

Out actor Anthony Rapp is marrying his boyfriend, and he wants everyone to know about it.

The 48-year old Rapp went on social media Sunday to tell fans and followers he had proposed to partner Ken Ithiphol, saying: “So something happened tonight. I asked Ken if he would marry me and he said yes. I am so very happy and I’m so very thrilled to share this news.”

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A look back at some of the biggest LGBTQ pop culture moments over the last quarter century

By : Jeremy Williams
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Pop culture has always been ahead of the game when it comes to opening the hearts and minds of society. Long before the majority of the U.S. supported marriage equality, believed LGBTQ rights were human rights and accepted that we were born this way, the LGBTQ community was being acknowledged in movies, music, TV shows, books and more.

We have gathered the ABC’s of LGBTQ pop culture moments from over the last quarter century on this page to remind you of a few of those times that made us feel like we were being seen.

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‘Dear Evan Hansen’ star Ben Levi Ross talks living authentically and launching a national tour

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Since its world premiere in 2015 and its Broadway debut the following year, “Dear Evan Hansen” has captivated audiences with its contemporary and cautionary tale of a high school student waving through a window and yearning to be found.

The megahit musical—which features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, direction by Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (“Rent”) and a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman”)—quickly became a household name. In 2017, it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical. The following year, its original Broadway cast recording won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

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Frenchie Davis to kickoff Pride weekend with a soulful concert at the official COWP Weekend Launch Party

By : Jaime Donelson
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Come Out With Pride has an entire week of festivities planned for locals and visitors alike to celebrate their coming out. One event is the official Come Out With Pride Weekend Launch Party which will feature Grammy-nominated performer Frenchie Davis.

Davis came out as bisexual in 2012. As a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community, she has performed at Pride events in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Honolulu and San Francisco.

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Tony Awards: De Niro slams Trump, Parkland students perform

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, performing Rent’s ‘Seasons Of Love’ at the 2018 Tony Awards. Screenshot via Twitter.

The 72nd annual Tony Awards, hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, featured a clean sweep from “The Band’s Visit” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two” as well as plenty of onstage antics.

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Seeing ‘RENT’ for the first time as told by a Watermark intern

By : Colton Adkins
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Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical “RENT” changed the landscape of Broadway when it premiered in 1996.

A re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Boheme,” “RENT” — currently in the third year of its 20th Anniversary National Tour — follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.

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Javon King makes national tour debut with ‘RENT’

By : Layla Ferris
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Javon King plays Angel in the national tour of “RENT”

Javon King is an openly gay actor from New Jersey, and he is making his national tour debut with the company of “RENT.” He joins the cast with his portrayal of fan favorite Angel Dumott Schunard.

King, 21, studies musical theater at Rider University in New Jersey. He’s been in several productions at the university such as “Of Thee I Sing” and “Once on This Island.”

King says he’s shocked and ecstatic to have the opportunity to perform “RENT” nationally. King spoke with Watermark on the show’s opening night in Orlando to discuss his first memories of “RENT,” the show’s depiction of the LGBTQ experience and the complexities of playing Angel.

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Central Florida actor Joshua Roth takes on the titular character in the Footlight Theatre’s production of ‘Jeffrey’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Most people, when trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, have that go-to person they talk it out with: a parent, a best friend, maybe a guidance counselor. For Central Florida actor Joshua Roth that person was a bit more removed than that.

“I went to New York with some friends and had a really amazing conversation with this random woman on the subway for like an hour,” Roth recalls. “This woman just came into my life at the right time and she asked me what I love, and I told her that I love singing and dancing and she asked me ‘then why aren’t you doing it?’”

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Fox’s ‘Rent’ live musical set for 2019 premiere

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Rent,” Fox’s latest live televised musical adaptation, won’t be coming to the small screen for some time.

Deadline reports the production will air on Sunday, Jan. 27. 2019.

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The groundbreaking Broadway smash hit ‘RENT’ celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a tour across America

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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It’s been over 10,512,000 minutes since RENT took the world by storm in 1996, well over 525,600. But as Jonathan Larson’s original rock musical readies its 20th anniversary tour, it’s clear that every one of those minutes has indeed been measured in love.

The off-Broadway world premiere of RENT, a re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, took place on February 13, 1996. The hit show transferred to Broadway on April 29 of the same year and went on to captivate audiences worldwide. It even inspired a 2005 film adaptation of the same name, featuring much of the original Broadway cast and earning nearly $30 million domestically.

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