Casting Announced for Newly Reworked Version of Rent in London

News   Casting Announced for Newly Reworked Version of Rent in London
 
London will welcome a reworked version of Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer-Prize winning musical Rent this fall.

Siobhan Donaghy will make her London stage debut in Rent.
Siobhan Donaghy will make her London stage debut in Rent.

Variety reports that the Tony-winning musical, which continues to play Broadway's Nederlander Theatre, will arrive at the Duke of York's Theatre Oct. 2 with an official opening Oct. 16.

Produced by Ambassador Theater Group, Tulbart Prods. and Michael Brenner, this "contemporary" take on Rent was conceived and will be directed by William Baker. This production will be the first professional production to not reproduce the original one produced by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theater Workshop.

Baker told Daily Variety, "Because of Jonathan Larson's untimely death at the first preview, the show has become frozen as a kind of sacred text. It looked and sounded very much of its time. Audiences have changed since then, and I think it needed reappraising for a London audience." Baker added his Rent is a "digital production for a digital world — more a pop opera than a rock opera." Each song has been reorchestrated to match the character who sings it. "All great songs can always be remixed," Baker explained. "We've kept the vocal melodies, but the sound is completely different."

The cast will feature Siobhan Donaghy, a founding member of Sugababes, as Mimi with Luke Evans as Roger, Oliver Thornton as Mark, Leon Lopez as Collins, Jay Webb as Angel, Francesca Jackson as Joanne and Craig Stein as Benny. The creative team will include Steve Anderson (music supervision), Mark Bailey (design), David Howe (lighting design) and Sebastian Frost (sound design).

After an acclaimed run Off-Broadway, Rent transferred to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre, opening April 29, 1996. With book, music and lyrics by the late Jonathan Larson, the original cast included Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Idina Menzel, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Jesse L. Martin. Michael Greif directed with choreography by Marlies Yearby. Larson's score features such songs as "Rent," "I'll Cover You," "Seasons of Love," "One Song Glory." Tickets for Rent will utilize a ticket policy similar to those used for concerts. Tickets, priced £30, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Rent previously played an 18-month run in London. Anthony Rapp (Mark), Adam Pascal (Roger), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Jesse Martin (Collins) re-created their original Broadway work for the London run, which began previews April 21, 1998, at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

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