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Rent posts early closing notices

Feature by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE MUSICAL Rent, which was booking until April 5, 2008, has posted early closing notices at the Duke of York’s Theatre. It will now close on February 2, 2008. Meanwhile, Jessie Wallace will join the cast on December 24, 2007, as previously announced.

Rent will be followed – from February 11 – by the Young Vic’s acclaimed production of The Magic Flute (Impempe Yomlingo).
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Previously Posted: On December 24, 2007, former EastEnders‘ star Jessie Wallace will make her West End debut in the musical Rent when she takes over the role of Maureen from Denise Van Outen.

Wallace is, of course, best known for her portrayal of Kat Slater in the popular BBC soap, a role she played for five years and for which she won two National Television Awards – Most Popular Newcomer (2001) and Most Popular Actress (2003).

Her subsequent television credits include A Class Apart, The Dinner Party, Miss Marie Lloyd – Queen of the Music Hall and Wild at Heart.

Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, which has been given a 21st century make-over, is directed by William Baker, with Steve Anderson acting as music supervisor. The two have previously worked with high-profile stars such as Kylie Minogue, Westlife, Bjork, Geri Halliwell, Sting, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Britney Spears.

Based on Puccini’s opera La Bohème, Larson’s original production was set in early 1990s New York where a community of squatters battled to fulfill their aspirations against the reality of rent demands and AIDS.

The new production transports the characters to any place at any time, so they could be living in Hoxton, Shoreditch or maybe even Manchester, while the British cast speak in their native accents. And although running time has been reduced to just over two hours, electric guitar riffs and some Americanisms removed, and references to HIV therapies updated, 21st century Rent remains true to the original.

The other current principals will remain with the show. They include former Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy (Mimi), Luke Evans (Roger), Oliver Thornton (Mark), Leon Lopez (Collins), Jay Webb (Angel), Francesca Jackson (Joanne) and Craig Stein (Benny).

Rent is currently booking until April 5, 2008, at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

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