This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Chris Graboswki confers with “Rent” actors during a rehearsal. Photo credit: Dixie Sheridan ’65

Rent, the Musical: Once Again with Feeling

It was 1993 when Chris Grabowski, an artistic associate at New York Theater Workshop, directed the first staged reading of a new project by composer Jonathan Larson, which followed the lives of a group of young, fledging artists in the East Village, struggling to forge their way in the world. That musical, based on Giacomo Puccini’s classic “La Bohème,” was the soon-to-be Broadway sensation Rent, which ran for 12-seasons, won two Tony Awards, inspired a motion major picture, and captured the hearts of an entire generation of theater-goers.

Now, Grabowski, professor of drama, will bring Rent to Vassar, to be performed December 2, 3, 4, and 5. A cast of 18 actors, 8 dancers, 4 musicians, and 1 filmmaker will produce one of the first college productions of the acclaimed musical. Grabowski has aimed to merge his own personal experiences and connections with the show with those of the contemporary Vassar students and faculty he is working alongside. Nate Silver ’10, who will served as associate director of the production with Julianna Gonzalez ’11, explains that working with Grabowski, shown here, has been valuable for everyone because of the “unique perspective he brings, being so intimately attached to the history of that piece. It lets us merge those ideas...where the play came from and what it means today. Our challenge, and the challenge of the entire company, is to discover what Rent means to us at this moment, in this place.”

December 2009

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