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Rent - Zoe Birkett joins cast

Steph Fearon

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FORMER Pop Idol contestant Zoe Birkett (as Maureen Johnson) will join Steph Fearon in a new production of the multi award-winning musical Rent, which runs at Greenwich Theatre from September 7 (previews from September 5) to September 16, 2012.

Since 2002, when she shot to fame in the first series of Pop Idol, Birkett has appeared on stage in Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, Thriller Live, Respect La Diva and Hair.

Previously Posted: Steph Fearon, a semi-finalist in BBC1’s Over The Rainbow, a competition to find an actress to play the role of Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard Of Oz, is to star as Mimi in a new London production of the multi award-winning musical Rent.

With music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson and directed by Paul Taylor-Mills, Rent runs at Greenwich Theatre from September 7 (previews from September 5) to September 16, 2012.

Rent is based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La bohème and tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

Steph Fearon’s credits include Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Landor Theatre), Dorothy in The Wiz (Milton Keynes Theatre), Dorothy in a UK tour of The Wizard of Oz, Diana Morales in A Chorus Line (Tel Aviv Opera House, Israel), The Little Shop of Horrors (National tour), Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych Theatre) and The Wind in the Willows (Open Air Theatre).

On television, she has appeared in As If and My Parents are Aliens.

Director Paul Taylor-Mills’ credits include Little Shop of Horrors (White Bear Theatre) nominated for four Off West End Awards, including Best Director; A Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Lost Theatre); the European premiere of My Big Gay Italian Wedding (two sold-out seasons Above The Stag and C Venues, Edinburgh); and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Union Theatre), Off West End nomination for Best Director.

The original production of Rent opened at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996 following a history making, sold out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop. It went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award.

Rent is also one of only eight musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In all, it won four Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards, two Theatre World Awards, and Obie Awards for its creator (who died suddenly the night before the off-Broadway premiere), director, and entire cast.

The original production closed on September 7, 2008, after playing 5,124 performances and 16 previews, making it the ninth longest running show in Broadway history.

Produced by Lillie Collier and Kylie Vilcins, the new production will be designed by David Shields, with choreography by Richard Jones and musical direction by Huw Evans and Tom Turner. Associate Director will be Stephen Whitson. Further casting has yet to be announced.

For more information and tickets call the box office on 020 8858 7755 or visit