UB Department of Theatre and Dance to Perform Jonathan Larson's "Rent"

By David Wedekindt

Release Date: October 23, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance will present the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Rent" Nov. 18-22. Performance times are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Drama Theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

"Rent," with book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, relocates the story and characters of Puccini's La Boheme to New York City's East Village before its recent gentrification. The show opened in 1996 to critical acclaim. The New York Times called it "a major success," a truth confirmed by its 12-year run on Broadway.

Nathan R. Matthews, UB director of music theatre, will direct and music direct the production. As Riverside Opera Ensemble's founding producing artistic director, he has helmed events that included the participation of Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Harris, and Harolyn Blackwell. On Broadway, he was Music Associate for Children and Art, the Stephen Sondheim 75th Birthday gala, and he served as Mark Hamill's keyboard coach for Amadeus, directed by Sir Peter Hall. He has served on the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera. In Western New York Matthews has music directed/conducted at UB Theatre and Dance, the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Musicalfare, the Kavinoky Theatre and Artpark.

The cast of UB students includes Western New York native Shannon Mullen, who will join the national tour of Hairspray immediately following her graduation from UB in December. Other area students include Nathan Winkelstein and Kevin Zak, who have each appeared at the Irish Classical Theatre Company, as well as Eva Tashjian, Shawn Smith, Deon Oliverio and Ryan Cupello. Many UB music theatre students have become known to Buffalo audiences during their student years through their many appearances at Western New York theatres including Musicalfare and Artpark.

Tickets for Rent are $18, students and seniors $10. Tickets are available in the Center for the Arts Box Office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and at all Ticketmaster locations, including ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets, call 1-800-745-3000. For group sales, call 716-645-6771. For more information, call 716-645-2787. The Center for the Arts is a TICKETFAST location. Students (of any school) must present valid student ID at the Center for the Arts Box Office to receive discount.