Freddy shortly after his move from Chicago to Los Angeles with a printed message to Ray.
My name: Freddy Rodriguez
Alumni Update on Freddy Rodriguez
July 1, 2007
Freddy Rodriguez began acting at a young age. As a teenager, he was a key member of MWAH!’s predecessor – the Chicago area’s Explosonic Rockers Street Jazz Theatrical Troupe – for three years.
Following his move to Los Angeles in 1995 at the age of 20, he began appearing in numerous feature films and made-for-TV movies and has debuted as a Hollywood film director. His role as embalmer Frederico ‘Rico’ Diaz in the HBO series “Six Feet Under,” landed him an Emmy nomination. After five great seasons with the show, Freddy continued to hone his craft. He would go on to make appearances on NBC’s hit show “Scrubs.”
Freddy’s feature film credits include starring alongside Kurt Russell in ‘Dreamer,’ ‘Harsh Times’ with Christian Bale and Eva Longoria, the remake of ‘Poseidon’ directed by Wolfgang Petersen, M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Lady in the Water,’ ‘Bobby’ which included an array of stars, and the film “Grindhouse” directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarentino. Freddy considered it an honor to work with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarentino, saying “it was a dream come true.”
Freddy won the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Showwest Awards for his role in ‘Bobby’ and has also been featured in music videos for Fergie and Santana.
Freddy keeps in touch with his Chicago roots and the MWAH! troupe.
In a meeting with several MWAH! troupe members at a Starbucks in Chicago, near his parents’ home, Freddy noted that Hollywood is like a whirlwind and that hustle is the name of the game. He felt that for him, the intense competition within the entertainment industry always has motivated him to get better and to continually polish his craft.
Freddy emphasized that “whatever talent you may have, it’s of little value if your credit is bad.” By credit, he meant one’s integrity, values, work ethic, and overall reputation. He made it clear that he’s been blessed with a successful television and film career because of his accumulation of ‘good credit.’ That kind of credit, Freddy said, is far more valuable than money in the bank.
He added that ‘good credit’ will bode well for anyone, whatever career one may choose.
Freddy remains married to his high school sweetheart, Elsie, and they have three children. He told the Chicago Tribune, “We try to keep a good spiritual base in our family, try to keep normalcy in our family.” He named as his idols his parents, “immigrant factory workers who did everything they could to see that me and my two brothers were OK. That inspired me to go forward.”
When recntly asked to give advice to those seeking to make it in the entertainment business, Freddy said, “Stay passionate, stay hungry.”
Those who remember Freddy are deeply grateful for his continuing inspiration.
Alumni Update on Freddy Rodriguez
Freddy Rodriguez with MWAH! troupe members Niko Burton (left) and Alex Oechsel on December 1, 2008 at the Chicago premiere of the movie ‘Nothing Like the Holidays,’ in which Freddy portrayed Jesse Rodriguez and was also a co–executive producer.
December 1, 2008
Posing with MWAH! troupe members Niko Burton (left) and Alex Oechsel is former troupe member Freddy Rodriguez at the premiere showing of ‘Nothing Like the Holidays’ on December 1, 2008, in Chicago at the Music Box Theatre.
In his debut as an executive producer, Freddy also stars in the role of Jesse, a troubled soldier just back from Iraq who faces a number of family upheavals during his Christmas homecoming.
Freddy’s parents are portrayed by Alfred Molina and Elizabeth Pena. Also starring are John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Ferlito, and Jay Hernandez. The movie was filmed in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago where Freddy lived as a teenage member of the Explosonic Rockers Street Jazz Theatrical Troupe, predecessor to the MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe.
Other producers of the movie were native Chicagoans Bob Teitel and George Tillman Jr., whose previous hits include ‘Barbershop’ and ‘Soul Food.’ In his review, Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune describes the film as ‘what we need at the holidays….a modest little picture to capture something heartfelt and real,’ giving it three and a half stars.
Dann Gire of the Daily Herald is less impressed, giving it two and half stars. He concludes in his review, “Give some of the credit to the cast members, who add considerable sparkle to a conventional, unsurprising screenplay…Elizabeth Pena and Freddy Rodriquez are standouts, supplying depth and texture to characters better than their material.”
By Ray Moffitt
Photo of Freddy Rodriguez by Anthony Souffle of the Chicago Tribune
Freddy Rodriguez works ‘The Night Shift’
Troupe alumnus featured in Chicago Tribune about his new NBC medical drama
July 1, 2014
By Ray Moffitt
The Chicago Tribune on July 1, 2014, featured a page 1 story (Arts & Entertainment section) about Freddy Rodriguez, an alumnus of the Explosonic Rockers Street Jazz Theatrical Troupe, which morphed in 1992 to the MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe.
The story focuses on Freddy’s 20-year experiences in various Hollywood movies and TV series, including his current lead role in NBC’s ‘The Night Shift,’ which premiered No. 1 in its time slot about six weeks ago, according to the network. In this medical drama series, currently airing at 9:00 p.m. (CDT) Tuesdays, Freddy portrays Michael Ragosa, the hospital administrator, who’s responsible for keeping the hospital’s budget balanced, yet providing adequate care for a variety of people seeking emergency care.
Although the story does not mention Freddy’s two and a half years with the Explosonic Rockers, Freddy has met with MWAH! troupe members on several occasions when he’s returned to visit his parents and other family members in his home town of Chicago. In an email received July 2, Freddy promises to connect with current MWAH! troupe members when he returns for a longer period of time. He sends the MWAH! troupe his ‘love and blessings’ and adds that his wife, Elsie, a Chicago Bucktown neighborhood native and Freddy’s teenage ‘sweetheart,’ and their kids are gearing up to start a second season of ‘The Night Shift.’
Freddy, now age 39, began his Hollywood venture in 1995 with the film ‘A Walk in the Clouds,’ starring Keanu Reeves and Anthony Quinn.
About six years later, for a five-season span (2001-2005), Freddy was one of seven central characters for the highly acclaimed HBO cable network drama ‘Six Feet Under,’ portraying Federico Diaz as the mortician member of the Fisher family, who ran a funeral home in Los Angeles. This show, running 63 episodes, won numerous awards, including nine Emmys and three Screen Actors Guild awards.