Jai Rodriguez Dishes on Dirty Little Secrets and Summer Shorts

In addition to last year's annual Summer Shorts festival, City Theatre premiered Camp Kappawanna, the family rock musical penned by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb (the show is back for a return engagement this year). This year's festivities, however, is not so kid-friendly.

The 16th anniversary of Summer Shorts calls for something spicier, hipper and provocative all meshed into a series of seven five- to 20- minute fast, funny and fresh plays performed back-to-back at the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater beginning this Thursday. And it looks like City Theatre found their man in former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star, Jai Rodriguez. We asked The Culture Guy about Dirty Little Secrets as well as about the challenges of performing in consecutive fast-paced short plays.

Among some of the plays are Chronicle Simpkins Will Cut Your Ass, a play about a gang war on the playground; Aboard The Guy V. Molinari, and Mickey Herman Saves the *%#@^* Universe, where a gamer wagers the fate of the planet against alien invaders.

Rodriguez will also be performing a limited engagement of his own musical romp, Dirty Little Secrets for the festival. Billed as an irreverent comical musical revue filled with dish, tell, and stimulating moments, Secrets is an out-of-the box modern-day vaudevillian style performance for the late-night crowd.

New Times: What are some of the bigger challenges of playing different characters back-to-back-to-back?

Jai Rodriguez: Well we are still rehearsing but I'm gathering it will be a fun experience! It's really rare you get to show many different colors of yourself in one evening.

What should audiences expect from these plays as a collective? Are they all comedies? Are there any tear-jerk moments?

There are funny plays and there are plays that make people cry. And we aren't even off book yet. So there really is something for everyone.

Do you have a favorite character from these short plays? 

Yes! I don't want to say anything bad about any of these great works or against playwrights but I definitely have favorites (laughs). I'll plead the fifth here!

What can you tell us about your show Dirty Little Secrets?

It's quite out-of-the-box and perfect for new and veteran theatergoers alike. It's not for children. The show arcs my life and is set to current pop music. 

So, kinda like Glee if Glee were rated R. I don't hold back and tell very hilarious and intimate stories from my life. From growing up a strict born again Christian to winning my Emmy to my first sexual experiences, which surprisingly, were not with men. It's one hell of a hot show.

What do you think is the appeal to this year's Summer Shorts?

It beats seeing a movie or just walking down Lincoln Road for the millionth time. It's probably something you will recommend to your friends. It's theater for the remote control loving American. Fast, fun, and an over all good time.

Look for our full preview of the 16th Annual Summer Shorts in this week's issue.

City Theatre's 16th Annual Summer Shorts kicks off June 2 at the Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd.) at 7:00 p.m. Tickets cost $45. Dirty Little Secrets will be performed at the Arsht on June 10, 17, 19 and 24. Dirty Little Secrets performances start at 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 ($17.50 for seniors and students). Visit or call 305-949-6722.

Enter to win two free tickets to opening night here.

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Chris Joseph