University of Southern Indiana

USI Theatre's 'Rent' allows for learning outside the classroom

October 24, 2011

The musical Rent, with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, musical arrangements by Steve Skinner, and original concept/additional lyrics by Billy Aronson, is USI Theatre's production opening Friday, November 11.

To prepare for the production of Rent, USI faculty director Eric Altheide and costume design supervisor, Shan Jensen, traveled to New York with the cast and the student Endeavor project team, where they toured areas in New York mentioned in Rent, including the East Village, the Life Café, and the apartment building where Jonathan Larson lived when working on the musical. Students took the opportunity to film scenes on location which will be shown to audiences during the production.

Also while in New York, the students attended the new Off-Broadway revival of Rent. After the show, they had the rare opportunity to talk to the professional artists working on the show. The New York trip would not have been possible without funding by the USI Provost, USI Society for Arts and Humanities, USI Student Government Association, USI College of Liberal Arts, and the Endeavor Awards for Research and Creativity.

The cast includes USI students Dustin Stephens as Roger Davis, Adam Woodruff as Mark Cohen, Anachebe Asomugha as Tom Collins, Antonio King as Benjamin Coffin III, Shawnte Gaston as Joanne Jefferson, Preston Harris-Dunlap as Angel Dumott Schunard, Bridgette Hoover as Mimi Marquez, Emily Durchholz as Maureen Johnson, and ensemble company members Melissa Brown, Brandis DeWilligen, Preston Edge, Daniel Harris, Kevin Hawkins, and Gwendolyn Snow playing numerous roles. USI students who are part of the Endeavor project team include Andrea Hemmer, Craig Patterson, and Ashley Riester, with mentoring assistance from USI alum Kyle Rupert.

The USI Theatre fall production opens Friday night, November 11, and runs through the following Friday, November 18, with Monday as the only day off for the show during its one-week run. The play will be staged at 7:30 p.m. November 11-12 and 15-18 and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 13 in the Mallette Studio Theatre on the lower level of the Liberal Arts Center on USI’s campus.

Tickets are $10 for USI students, $15 for adults, and $13 for seniors (60+) and non-USI students. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call the box office at 812-465-1668. Production contains adult themes, brief nudity, strobe effects, and simulated drug use.

In the spring, the Repertory Project will open with Pride and Prejudice, by Jon Jory, which will play in rotation with William Shakespeare's All's Well that Ends Well. Performances run March 20-April 1. Tickets for the upcoming productions are on sale now.

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