Valley Arts Groups Join Forces to Present ‘Rent’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A group of area performing arts organizations are collaborating on a production of “Rent,” the landmark rock musical, that will be performed April 27-30 at Powers Auditorium.

Opera Western Reserve, the Stambaugh Auditorium Association, the Youngstown Playhouse and the Youngstown Symphony Society are pooling their talents for the show.

Matthew Mazuroski, a theater professor at Youngstown State University and a local stage veteran, will direct the show.

He called it “an honor” to be asked to helm the production. “We are in the process of finalizing the creative and design team to bring this brash, brilliant, and much-loved musical to life,” he said.

Auditions will take place in early January.

After a successful run of “The Color Purple” in September of 2021 and the formation of the management partnership that now includes OWR, The Playhouse, The YSO and Stambaugh Auditorium, a goal of doing a second production became realistic,” said Matt Pagac, chief executive and operating officer of Stambaugh.

“We hope a collaborative production such as ‘The Color Purple’ in 2021 and now ‘Rent’ in 2023 will be a tradition that the community can look forward to each season,” he said.

John Cox, president of The Playhouse board, said the collaboration will take advantage of the Mahoning Valley’s deep talent pool.

“This community is full of talent, and coming together to produce this iconic musical can showcase [it],” he said.

“Rent,” written by Jonathan Larson, is set at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the East Side of Manhattan in the 1990s. The story follows a group of young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create amid sickness, poverty and death.

The show was modeled after the famed Puccini opera “La Bohème,” which will be staged by OWR on Nov. 11 at Stambaugh.

“Presenting ‘Rent’ after this fall’s production provides our community the opportunity to explore the evolution of art forms,” said Elliot Legow, president of the OWR board.

Tickets range from $17 to $35 (plus applicable fees) and are on sale now at the DeYor Performing Arts Center box office, downtown; by phone at 330 259 9651; and at experienceyourarts.org. Discounts are available for Playhouse Flex Pass subscribers (on sale now), YSO season subscribers, and purchasers of tickets to “La Bohème.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.