Pittsburgh – Five years ago, Ken Gargaro was hired to revive Robert Morris University’s long dormant Colonial Theatre. Revive it, he did – and then some.
RMU's production of the award winning musical “Rent” was recently selected as a semifinalist in Region II of the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival, which will be held at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Region II encompasses Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, New Jersey, Western New York, Northern Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The festival runs from Jan. 12-16, and RMU will perform "Rent" at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 16. As a semifinalist, RMU is a contender for a slot to remount the production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. later in the spring.
“This honor affirms our commitment to building a top-notch theater program,” said Gargaro, an assistant professor in the university’s School of Communications and Information Systems. “It’s the equivalent of being invited to a bowl game.”
Gargaro believes that providing access to continuous training that is tested regularly in performance is the best way to educate students in the arts. Building a program on this philosophy required the establishment of a theater concentration in the university’s communications curriculum, as well as a budget to support an active production program. RMU now produces four major theater shows each year and the number of theater students has grown in tandem with this robust production program.