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Video | Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez in South Florida for 'Summer Shorts,' 'Dirty Little Secrets'

Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez continues starring in this season's Summer Shorts theater series at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

In addition, he performs his own adult-theme show, Dirty Little Secrets, at night. Here's Miami Herald theater critic Christine Dolen's review from June 11:

By CHRISTINE DOLEN, cdolen@MiamiHerald.com

Jai Rodriguez is hardly a wizened showbiz veteran. He’ll turn 32 on June 22, and he’s still young and hot, with plenty of career achievements ahead of him.

But the charismatic Rodriguez, the “culture vulture” from Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, has led an interesting and eventful life so far. And in his engaging, adult-themed cabaret show Dirty Little Secrets, the actor spills the sometimes-surprising details of his journey from questing kid to accomplished man.

In South Florida as the headliner for this year’s edition of City Theatre’s Summer Shorts festival, Rodriguez has built on his popular earlier show xPosed to create a new biographical revue, co-presented by City Theatre and the Out in the Tropics Festival at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater.

Dirty Little Secrets features a rocking four-piece band (musical director Eric Alsford on keyboards, Chris Kent on guitar, Martha Spangler on bass and Julie Jacobs on drums) and three singer-dancer-actors who play scenes with Rodriguez and back him up vocally. But even though Secrets is his story, Rodriguez is again generous in making sure his fellow performers have chances to share or claim the spotlight.

Anne Chamberlain, for instance, gets to demonstrate on Katy Perry’s Firework that she has the strongest pop-rock voice in the cast. Alexandra Adomaitis, who also choreographed the show, proves herself an exquisite, versatile dancer. And Michael Joseph, playing the Rent cast member who introduced a teenaged Rodriguez to a new kind of sexual passion, is a sculpted crowd-pleaser.

Staged by John Manzelli and Rodriguez, Dirty Little Secrets follows its star from his youth on Long Island as the son of a deeply religious single mom to his current success as a multifaceted actor and producer of reality television.

The personal and career touchstones all get mentioned: a high school girlfriend who was his first sexual partner, coming out and getting kicked out by his mother, his youthful fulfillment playing the cross-dressing Angel in Rent, his odd audition for Queer Eye as he verbally sparred with Carson Kressley and Ted Allen. Boyfriends and betrayal are part of the narrative too, as are “secrets” that are Rodriguez’s to share.

Yet for all its dramatic and sometimes-sobering shadings, Dirty Little Secrets is upbeat, empowering and entertaining. In large part, that’s because of Rodriguez’s warm stage presence and the songs he and the others sing, a mixture of meaningful show tunes and pop hits. To convey his discomfort at the prospect of sex with his girlfriend, he croons Something About You from Altar Boyz , a song that’s an ode to abstinence. Adomaitis takes it (almost) all off to the title tune from Burlesque. Rodriguez delivers his Rent audition song, an aching One Song Glory, then later joins with the others in singing the anthemic Seasons of Love. Ce-Lo Green’s Forget You (the dirty-lyrics version) and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way help tell Rodriguez’s story too.

Originally, Dirty Little Secrets was going to be just Rodriguez and an accompanist delivering simple songs and stories. But as it has evolved, the show has so much more to offer — as does its appealing subject and star.

Dirty Little Secrets

What: ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ by Jai Rodriguez

Where: Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: At Arsht, 10 p.m. Friday and June 24, 7:30 p.m. June 19; at Broward, 10 p.m. July 1

Cost: $35 ($17.50 for students and seniors)

Info: 305-949-7722 or www.arshcenter.org, 954-462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org

Summer Shorts

What: Summer Shorts plays: ‘Bienvenidos a Miami!’ by Mark Swaner, ‘Aboard the Guy V. Molinari’ by Bara Swain, ‘Mickey Herman Saves the $#&@ World’ by Marco Ramirez, ‘Dos Corazones’ by Richard Hellesen, ‘Quiet, Please!’ by Garth Wingfield, ‘What Strong Fences Make’ by Israel Horovitz, ‘Hate the Loser Inside’ by Jon Kern, ‘Chronicles Simpkins Will Cut Your Ass’ by Rolin Jones

Where: Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, through June 26; moves to Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, June 30-July 3

When: Shorts at Arsht 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday; at Broward, 7 p.m. June 30-July 2, 5 p.m. July 3

Cost: $45

Info: 305-949-6722, www.arshtcenter.org; 954-462-0222, www.browardcenter.org

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