Birkett, who shot to fame in 2002 during the first series of Pop Idol, has gone on to appear in the West End in Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, Thriller Live, What A Feeling, Respect La Diva and Hair.
She joins the previously announced Steph Fearon, who reached the semi-finals of BBC1’s Over The Rainbow, as Mimi Marquez.
Rent is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème and tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
Rent, with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson and directed by Paul Taylor-Mills, is designed by David Shields and choreographed by Richard Jones and will run at Greenwich Theatre from 5-16 September.
- Rosie Bannister