The multitalented Rogelio Douglas Jr is holding down the fort at Q’s Bar and Lounge in Palazzo Versace as the venue’s latest resident performer, with shows lined up five days a week until December 1. Here are five things you need to know about the triple-threat Broadway performer, from his time in Hollywood to working with Lin-Manuel Miranda and singing with one of pop’s biggest divas.
1. He’s been in some of your favourite shows… and movies
A glance through Rogelio Douglas Jr’s IMDb page reveals some of the biggest films and TV shows of the decade. Douglas Jr played a trumpeter in both Whiplash and Key and Peele, and took on the role of Public Enemy rapper Chuck D in Straight Outta Compton. He was also in three episodes of Ray Donavan as Cookie’s bodyguard, and played Darius McRae in Orange is the new Black and Cupid in Parks and Recreation.
2. He sang background vocals for Mariah Carey
In 1995, when Fox aired a live Mariah Carey performance from New York City titled Fantasy: Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden, Douglas Jr was chosen to sing background vocals. The TV special included hits such as Fantasy, One Sweet Day, Always Be My Baby and Hero. It was released on VHS the following year, and on DVD in 2004.
3. He was Sebastian in Broadway’s The Little Mermaid
After performing with Jennifer Holiday for the 25th anniversary staging of Dreamgirls, Douglas Jr was tapped to play the lovable crab Sebastian in Broadway’s production of the Little Mermaid. He performed two of the show’s biggest hits, Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl. He said the crab purposefully changed accents in the show — when Sebastian spoke to Ariel, he let his guard down and sounded more Caribbean-Spanish, but when he spoke to the king, he sounded like he came from Brixton, London.
4. He was a lead tap dancer for Riverdance
Early on in his career, Douglas Jr was a lead tap dancer in Riverdance, the Irish song-and-dance production. This harked back to his first passion in the performing arts world — dancing. At eight years old, Douglas Jr watched his first dance recital and was captivated by it. He has since become known as a triple threat in the industry: an actor, dancer and singer.
5. He was in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights
Before Lin-Manuel Miranda took Broadway by storm with his hit show Hamilton, he wrote the music for the four-time Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. Based on a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, the production takes place over the course of three days in Washington Heights, a neighbourhood in New York City. Rogelio Jr was originally an understudy for Benny, the only character who doesn’t speak Spanish in the show, but he was chosen to lead the role when the musical went on its First National Tour.
*Catch Rogelio Douglas Jr at Q’s Bar and Lounge every Tuesday to Friday between 9pm to 1am, and every Saturday between 8pm and 12am. Minimum spend per person ranges from Dh250-Dh350.