Former Larson Classmate/Collaborator Armstrong to Direct Rent in September

News   Former Larson Classmate/Collaborator Armstrong to Direct Rent in September Adelphi University will present the first licensed full production of the late Jonathan Larson's Rent following the musical's upcoming closing on Broadway. Larson received his BFA at the Adelphi in 1982.

The "new and reconceived version of Rent" — which will extensively utilize film and video — will play the University's new Performing Arts Center Sept. 23-28.

David Glenn Armstrong, a former classmate and collaborator of Larson — the duo penned three musicals including the ASCAP Award-winning Saved! An Immoral Musical on the Moral Majority — will helm the production.

In a statement Armstrong said, "I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to Adelphi after 26 years to share my Jonathan stories with our amazing cast. It is a palpable rush to direct the first full new production of Rent to be seen in 12 years. We will tell the story of these unforgettable characters in an innovative and incredibly intimate way. I'm approaching the show as a period piece — and as I'm working with actors in their early twenties, I feel a paternal responsibility to 'scare them straight' about what New York City was like when the spectre of AIDS loomed over all of us in the arts world creating an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, instability and ultimately, community. Due to the stunning work of our designers, this Rent will be an incredibly theatrical and emotionally cathartic experience. Our audiences are going to revel in Jonathan's heartfelt work in a completely new and shockingly different way."

The creative team will also include Todd Robinson (film/video segment director), Kerry Prep (musical director), Regina Larkin (choreographer), Sarah Martin (set designer), Sean Sullivan (costume designer), Jared Klein (lighting designer), Kevin Stromberg (sound designer), Allison Hersh (production stage manager), Amy Bartlett (assistant director) and Trevor O'Bryen (assistant musical director).

The cast, a combination of Adelphi alumni and current performing arts majors, will comprise Corrado Alicata '11, Chris Bott '09, Lauren Brickman '09, Christopher Caron '06 (Benny), Breezy Coleman '09, Michael DiFrancisco '09, Joey Elrose '08 (Mark), Benjamin Farha '10 (Angel), Nathaniel Foster '09, Craig Fox '09 (Tom Collins), Jessica Gray '10, Jim Kelly '09 (Roger), Natalie Margiotta '09 (Maureen), Katie Murphy '05 (Mimi), Egle Petraityte '09, Christopher Reynolds '10, Jennifer Susi '05 (Joanne) and Kayla Zaniboni '10. Nicholas Petron is the chair of the Department of Theatre.

Rent, which has book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, is the seventh longest-running show in Broadway history.

Rent, directed by Michael Greif, opened on Broadway April 29, 1996, following a sold-out, extended limited engagement at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award.

Rent is one of only seven musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Adelphi University is located in Garden City, NY. For tickets, priced $7-$15, call (516) 877-4000 or visit http://aupac.adelphi.edu/buytickets.php.