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No day but today – Gabriela García steps into Hope Mill Rent with less than a days' notice

The performer helped the show go on!

Tom Francis (Roger) Gabriela Garcia (Mimi) & Luke Bayer (Mark)
© Hope Mill Theatre

Gabriela Garcia, who starred in the Royal Exchange's West Side Story in 2019 and 2020, had a relatively unexpected day yesterday.

Despite holding a ticket for the five-star Rent at the Hope Mill Theatre, when booking, the musical performer never envisioned she'd actually end up appearing in the show that evening – taking on the pivotal role of Mimi!

William Whelton of The Hope Mill Theatre explained today: "Unfortunately due to cast illness – not Covid related – we had been forced to cancel several shows at the beginning of the week. The whole week was sold out, so this was extremely disappointing for all involved including our audiences."

Coming in at 11am, Garcia was fitted for a costume, had a rehearsal with the MD and run-through with the entire company before appearing in front of a paying audience that night. She is set to return to the show again tomorrow.

Whelton went on: "After a year of cancelled shows, it is always a last resort for us and as a small venue with a limited run show cancels can be very damaging to us, especially during our covid recovery. Watching Gabriela step into the role with such professionalism, passion and poise was truly overwhelming. We are eternally grateful to her for saving the show."

Garcia, who has previously appeared in Rent director Luke Sheppard's production of In the Heights and had previously performed in a Greenwich Theatre production of Rent, said today: "DREAMS COME TRUE – all the times I performed "Out Tonight" in my kitchen I was rehearsing for this moment without knowing it! Rent was my first show out of college…I saw it on Broadway years ago and I bought a Rent notepad, that same Rent notepad was the one I used last night to write down my track….what's life ?!"

Rent continues its run at the Hope Mill until 19 September.

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