Follow Us on Twitter

Rent - Denise Van Outen takes on Maureen

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DENISE Van Outen, recently seen on the judging panel of BBC’s Any Dream Will Do, is taking on the role of edgy bisexual Maureen in the new production of Rent which opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre on October 16, 2007 (previews from October 2).

The former TV presenter (The Big Breakfast, Something for the Weekend) wowed critics when she returned to the stage in 2001 playing Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago, a role she later reprised on Broadway.

Her other stage credits include A Slice of Saturday Night, Les Miserables, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stop the World and, most recently, the 2003 reworked version of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s Tell Me On A Sunday.

b>Buy tickets

Previously Posted: A new production of Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent, starring former Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy, opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre on October 16, 2007 (previews from October 2).

The new updated version 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.

Donaghy, a founding member of the pop band Sugababes, makes her West End stage debut playing Mimi. She is joined in the cast by Luke Evans as Roger (Taboo, Miss Saigon, Avenue Q) and Leon Lopez as Collins (TV’s Hollyoaks, Brookside).

The cast also includes Oliver Thornton (Mark), Jay Webb (Angel), Francesca Jackson (Joanne), Craig Stein (Benny), Ruth Augilera, Jamie Sampson, Antony Luperi, Earl Perkins, Lewis Griffiths and Philippa Stefani.

Rent will be priced in a similar way to gigs and concerts, with all tickets at £30 and sold on a first come, first served basis. Howard Panter, Joint Chief Executive of the Ambassador Theatre Group, which produces Rent, said, “This is a musical about young people and for young people. We have therefore chosen what we believe to be an appropriate new ticket policy which young people are using and understand.”

In Celebration is currently playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre. b>Read more