-- Three Robert Morris University students and an RMU alumnus performed in the Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s recent production of “Rent,” at the Byham Theater in the downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District.
“Rent” was the third Pittsburgh Musical Theater production to feature veterans of RMU’s Colonial Theatre program. Previously, RMU students appeared in “High School Musical” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Having their performance chops tested in a professional production at the 1200-seat Byham Theater creates a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Working alongside equity actors encourages their growth as artists,” said Ken Gargaro, director of the Colonial Theatre program. Gargaro also is directing the Pittsburgh Musical Theater “Rent” production.
The RMU students and alumnus who appeared in “Rent” were Maria Mauti, a junior English major; Alysha Watson, a senior communication major; Korey White, a junior communication major; and David Toole, a 2008 RMU graduate who earned a degree in business administration.
“It wasn’t until I came to RMU that I had the confidence I needed in order to truly follow my dreams,” said Mauti, who transferred from Point Park University.
In the fall, the Colonial Theatre put on its own production of “Rent,” one of the first university theater companies nationwide to perform the acclaimed Broadway hit. That production was a semifinalist in Region II of the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival.
“The Byham stage time complements their appearances on the Colonial Theatre stage by allowing continuous testing of the technical training they receive at RMU. This continuity produces seasoned actors,” said Gargaro. “Looking like a seasoned actor makes for a strong auditioning posture and can be a ticket to a second look at most auditions.”
The next Colonial Theatre production is “Urinetown” which runs from Feb. 24-28 in Massey Hall at RMU’s Moon Township campus.