UK Rent revival by & Juliet director Luke Sheppard #WestEndWishlist

Posted on 5 February 2020

For any musicals fan, it’s highly likely that you’re a fan of the iconic musical Rent and so naturally a revival has been desperately awaited! After 525,600 minutes and then some, the news broke yesterday that a brand-new production from the Hope Mill Theatre will take place this summer for a strictly limited one-month run! Rent will be directed by Luke Sheppard who directed Spring Awakening at the Manchester theatre back in 2018. Sheppard’s most recent credits feature & Juliet which premiered at Manchester’s Opera House before transferring to the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre.

The combination of beloved hit musical Rent and the wonderful direction of Luke Sheppard has certainly spiked the excitement for this new production! Here’s hoping that the musical follows suit of many that begin in Manchester and then transfer to London for a West End production. With summer and the Hope Mill Theatre production feeling far away, we won’t wait with bated breath just yet for a West End transfer, but we will be dreaming. Read below to see why we want Rent in London…

3 reasons we’re wishing for a West End Rent transfer

1. Rent the Musical speaks for itself!
It’s probably one of the most popular musicals of the past 20 years which is due to everything it is and speaks for. Fantastic music and lyrics, a brilliant book and a message of diversity and equality. It delves into the gritty struggle of artists who are suffering from poverty and HIV/AIDS whilst remaining positive and upbeat. It gives representation to a serious matter but without focusing all on the doom and gloom.

2. The soundtrack
Rent is hugely popular, thanks to its various productions (on stage and on-screen), but it certainly wouldn’t have the same success if it wasn’t for the soundtrack. The original motion picture soundtrack features the cast of the adapted 2005 film of the same name, a lot of whom were in the original Broadway production. The cast are incredibly talented, of course, but those songs are just timeless. ‘Seasons of Love’ is not just one of the most popular songs from the musical but from all of musical theatre. It ranked #33 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but continues to live on, most recently being covered by original cast member Idina Menzel on her Christmas album ‘Christmas: A Season of Love’ which placed at #2 on the US Billboard Top Holiday Albums.

3. Characters and Dream casting
The characters in Rent are famously complex, diverse and relatable all at the same time which makes dream casting even more fun! The producers have said that for the Hope Mill Theatre production they are wanting to showcase Northern talent which is brilliant! However, dreaming up a West End cast is too fun to resist.
My dream cast of a West End production of Rent would feature David Hunter (Waitress) as Mark Cohen, Simon Gordon (Girl From the North Country) as Roger Davis, Maiya Quansah-Breed (Six the Musical) as Mimi Marquez, Christopher Cameron (Bat Out of Hell) as Angel Dumott Schunard, Aimie Atkinson (Pretty Woman) as Maureen Johnson, Genesis Lynea (Sylvia) as Joanne Jefferson, and Adrian Hansel (Ain’t Misbehavin’) as Tom Collins.

Rent has only been announced to have just a one-month run at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre, but you never know what could happen…

Read our Beetlejuice the Musical #WestEndWishlist and dream cast piece here.

Read our Top 10 Musicals #WestEndWishlist piece here.

By Jade Ali

A love for theatre stemmed from my love of literature and music, but the West End on my doorstep opened up a whole new appreciation and passion for all things stage-y