The 20th Anniversary production of RENT opens at the St James Theatre

Adam Pascal offers advice for the new cast of RENT.

Rent 20th Anniversary Cast

Twenty years after opening on Broadway and changing the face of musical theatre forever, a new production of RENT opens this evening at the St James Theatre in London. The production has currently been enjoying a sell-out UK tour and lands in London for the Christmas period to the 28 January 2017.

This new production is directed by Bruce Guthrie with choreography by Lee Proud, musical direction by Phil Cornwell and musical arrangements by Steve Skinner. It features set design by Anna Fleischle with lighting by Rick Fisher and sound design by Mike Walker.

With music, book and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, RENT became a cultural phenomenon after originally opening at the New York Theatre Workshop off-Broadway in 1996. The musical moved to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre on 29 April 1996 where it continued to run to 7 September 2008, closing after a 12-year run of 5,123 performances. The musical won multiple Tony Awards including the award for Best New Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

We recently spoke to original RENT cast member Adam Pascal, and asked for his words of advice or encouragement to send the cast of the new production:

"My words of advice are always generally the same for new cast members taking on this show. My advice is to not saddle yourself with the burden of trying to deliver an important message. The important messages, if they exist at all, are written into the show. In my opinion, it’s not the responsibility of the cast to saddle themselves with the heaviness of making sure the audience gets that. I think it’s our job as actors to do the show, tell it truthfully and honestly and have fun. That’s where our job ends. An audience is either going to get it or not going to get it. We shouldn’t have the added responsibility of being the bearers of an important message. That should already be written into the show and if it is, it’s there, and if it’s not, it’s never going to be there."

Adam Pascal originally created the role of Roger on Broadway as well as the film version of the musical. He is currently starring in Something Rotten on Broadway.

The cast for the new production includes Ross Hunter (Roger Davis), Billy Cullum (Mark Cohen), Ryan O’Gorman (Tom Collins), Shanay Holmes (Joanne Jefferson), Layton Williams (Angel Schunard), Philippa Stefani (Mimi Marquez) and Lucie Jones (Maureen Johnson), Javar La'Trail Parker (Benny), Kevin Yates, Jordan Laviniere, Christina Modestou, Bobbie Little, Jenny O’Leary, Harrison Clark and Katie Bradley.

We're looking forward to attending the opening of RENT this evening. Check back tomorrow for reviews.

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