Rehearsals started last week for RENT in Concert, a touring version of the famed American musical that will be hitting the UK next month. The show, which stars West End leading lady Kerry Ellis and ITVs ‘Superstar’ finalist Rory Taylor, will premiere at the Manchester Opera House on Thursday 25th April and go on to a further nine venues across the UK.
The show will be staged as a concert version rather than a full scale production and Kerry is excited to take on a challenging role. “I get to play a character I probably wouldn’t get to play in the full scale show,” she said. “There is a little artistic license I think when you’re doing a concert show. It’s like doing the highlights and you get to think outside the box.”
Kerry will be playing 19-year-old Spanish drug addict and exotic dancer Mimi Marquez. She is enjoying the freedom the production allows her to explore material different to her recent projects. “I love ‘without you’ and we are looking at slightly different ways of doing that,” she added. “Mainly I am just looking forward to being part of a show again.”
The tour, which is now nearly sold out and has limited availability at most venues, will visit Manchester, Hackney, Liverpool, Newcastle, Cardiff, Birmingham, Stoke, Glasgow, Leeds and Southend between the 25th of April and the 5th of May.
“I love touring and taking a show to people’s home towns,” Kerry said. “You get a real sense of appreciation and warmth which is lovely.” Kerry also finds the chance to travel an appeal as and she loves visiting the cities around the UK.
The show also stars: Rory Taylor as Roger; Paul Ayres as Mark; Nikki Davis-Jones as Maureen; Leon Lopez as Collins; Ian Stroughair as Angel; Kenny Thompson as Benny and Jemma Alexander as Joanne. Kerry has had two days of rehearsals so far with the musical director, Rosalind Jones, and is looking forward to working with the rest of the cast. “I enjoy working with new people as they always bring out something different to explore,” she said. “This production has a fantastic cast and a great set. I’m yet to hear the band but I’m sure they are going to be fab.”
Rent is a popular show and was revived last year for a limited run by Interval Productions, with another version planned at the Tabard Theatre in August, and the show has a large following. “I have seen it twice,” said Kerry. “The first time was when it was here in London originally which I loved. I then saw it in New York a few years ago with Eden Espinosa who was fabulous.”
Kerry is busy working on other projects too, with an upcoming show at the London Palladium on the 12th of May. “I can’t wait,” she said. “It’s such an iconic building and I’m honoured to be performing my own show there, with of course some incredible guests. Then I’m off on tour again with Brian May,” she added. Kerry has worked with the Queen guitarist to promote the work of Born Free, a charity dedicated to ensuring the protection of wild cats in Africa, and the pair will be continuing a tour of the UK started last summer.
Full tour dates and tickets are available through the RENT in Concert website.