Aug 1, 2008

Al D. Rodriguez , Actor and Former Staffer Dies at 45

by Staff

Al D. Rodriguez

Al D. Rodriguez, a New York-based actor of stage and screen who was also once a vital part of the editorial team, died on July 30 after a brief bout with liver cancer. He was 45 years old.

Off-Broadway, Rodriguez was best known for his critically acclaimed work in the original cast of the long-running musical Born to Rumba!. Set in a pre-Castro Havana nightclub, the show started its long run at the Duo Theatre in 1991, with Rodriguez playing the role of drag showgirl Marijuana for more than 500 performances. He also appeared on the original cast recording and returned to play Marijuana again at the Duo in the musical's sequel, Beyond Born to Rumba!

Other theater credits include the role of detective Munoz in the national tour of City of Angels, The King at the Public Theater English Only Restaurant at Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Tooth and Claw at the Arden Theatre and Night of the Iguana at the Olney Theatre.

On the big screen, Rodriguez was seen in the movie musical The Producers and featured as Cuqui opposite Benjamin Bratt in PiƱero.

Beyond his performing career, Rodriguez was a web designer and video editor. He joined the editorial team in 2000 as our first video editor, and was a driving force in the launch of the site's video section. As a web designer, Rodriguez created and ran the official websites for two of his well-known friends, Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramirez and Carson Kressley of TV's How to Look Good Naked.

Raised in a Cuban household in Washington Heights, Rodriguez was proud to be a true New Yorker. Known for his quick wit, charming manner and adoration of musical theater, he is mourned by family and a large circle of friends.
A memorial service is being planned.