Jai Rodriguez is in South Florida this month airing all of his dirty laundry.
Best known as the former culture guy from the Bravo series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the singer and actor is headlining the 2011 Summer Shorts Theatre Festival at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
He explains that his cabaret show “‘Dirty Little Secrets’ is kind of a hybrid concert meets theatrical experience.” He says he took the narrative of his life and set it to pop rock, top 40 music.
“I listen to everything from country to dance music, but I would say I’m a big fan of the singer Robyn,” he said. Though he’s a follower of the Swede’s electropop, you won’t hear any of her songs in the play, but rather, her voice will set the scene as you walk into the theater.
His 305 faves are more gastronomic.
“I’m obsessed with Cuban sandwiches and Cuban coffee.” He noted, “I could have like four Cuban coffees a day, which is probably why I’m speaking so fast!”
He started his life in front on an audience right out of high school on Broadway in shows like Rent before turning to TV. The rigors of the stage taught him discipline, professionalism, and prepared him for his current roles.
“Returning to the stage is kind of a really great experience ... It’s so rare that you have that live human interaction.” In TV, you get “that instant connection with them, whether it’s laughter or so dramatic you can hear a pin drop,” he said.
One of Rodriguez’s dirty little secrets is that he struggled as the culture guy with Queer Eye. However, he turned lemons into lemonade.
“I had no cultural training, I had no etiquette skills ... What the show taught me was that I had more in common with the straight guys we were making over, and ultimately became their greatest ally.”
The show runs in Miami at the Arsht Center through June 26 and goes to Broward Center for the Performing Arts from June 30 to July 3. Purchase tickets at Arshtcenter.org and Browardcenter.org.