West End star Leon the hero as Halifax production of Rent is saved

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They say “the show must go on” regardless of whatever bad luck and ill fortune befalls a production.

Yet despite this all seemed lost for the current cast of High Flying Productions musical Rent which is due on stage at Halifax Playhouse later this month.

According to principal Vanessa Buckley the loss of major cast members looked like it would bring the show to a halt.

“It seemed impossible to replace the male leadwith only weeks to go because of the complexity of the part. For a start the person playing Tom Collins has to have a vocal range from bottom F to top F Sharp. That is quite a range”

And so with heavy heart the company began to make refunds and inform those people who had already bought tickets that the show would not go on.

This was doubly annoying for the newly formed company which is based and performs in Halifax because its two previous shows Cabaret and Gypsy had been sellouts.

But the story wasn’t quite finished. Vanessa reveals despite all she was encouraged to cast the net, speak to old contacts and in the end she hit the jackpot.

Years ago as a member of Halifax Light Opera Society she was friends with a fellow society member Leon Kaye. He has gone on to make his name in the West End and is currently performing in the Lionel Bart revival Maggie May.

He answered the SOS by agreeing to join the production once his commitment in London finishes bringing him to Halifax in time for dress rehearsals.

“Getting the show back on is one thing. Getting a West End performer as one of the leads is quite another,” said Vanessa.

And Leon says he can’t wait to perform at the Playhouse. “I performed my first ever musical there,” he said.

Rent features a group of people living in New York trying to keep a roof over their heads while dealing with the spectre of AIDS.

It’s on at the Halifax Playhouse from April 23-27. For tickets go to www.ticketor.com/highflyingproductions/upcomingevents