J. Antonio Rodriguez is a dreamer who moved to Oklahoma from Mexico at age 2.
Rodriguez was forced to audition for “Seussical” at 9 years old by his mother.
“She was tired of me playing my Nintendo DS, so I went, had a blast, and kept up with it ever since,” he added. I’m lucky to have accomplished my ambition of doing this for a job.
He became famous after graduating from theatrical school in 2020. Rodriguez plays Orpheus in the National Theatre’s touring version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Hadestown” through June 18.
Rodriguez was cast as a swing last year in Chicago. In April, he was requested to play Orpheus full-time after covering five dancer recordings.
“Orpheus’ singing is my favorite,” Rodriguez remarked. “People don’t believe I can sing that high when they hear me talk. I enjoy doing it. He plays guitar onstage and is naïve and childish with no goal or malice.
Rodriguez loves touring with his dance captain partner Cecilia.
The Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, “Hadestown,” is adapted by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and directed by Rachel Chavkin. Orpheus must rescue her from the underworld without succumbing to his fate. Hermes also narrates the narrative of King Hades and Persephone.
Rodriguez stated, “It’s a modern retelling so there are a lot of themes that have to do with what’s going on in our world. “History repeating, climate change, immigration, but the biggest thing is love and how love can bring the world back into tune.”
Rodriguez calls the Tony-winning score “jazzy, New Orleans-influenced” and “folky.”
“Audiences really seem to enjoy it and it’s just different than a lot of the other shows going through town,” he added. “I love exposing this story to new audiences across the country and presenting it to different people and backgrounds.”
“The tour gets along great. “In a city, we may play soccer in the park or go to an arcade or bar the locals recommend,” he added. We only have 14 members, including the band, so we’re close. We’re family.”
Rodriguez had only seen “Hadestown” during the Tony Awards, despite being a Greek myth aficionado since high school. He auditioned without hearing the soundtrack. He loves narrating this great story every night.
“I love our audiences’ vocal reactions,” he stated. “There are lots of ‘gasps’ at the end and people get really, really into it.”
He said one of the best things of performing the role is that Latinos often reach out to say how great it was to have a more indigenous-looking Spanish person leading a program.
“That’s super-rewarding and keeps encouraging me to do a better show than the night before,” Rodriguez added.