As usual for American Southwest Theatre Company/New Mexico State University productions, the sets, lights, costumes and sound are impeccable for the upcoming production of “Rent.” However, there is a difference for this production: they are all designed by NMSU Theatre Arts students. The group of four are putting what they have learned in the classroom into action. Senior Arianna Swinson is designing the set, Emily Romero the costumes, James Padilla the lights and Rachael Ryther the sound. Swinson also designed last year’s “Urinetown.”
According to Jim Billings, NMSU’s resident set and lighting designer, “It’s not unusual for students who excel in the classroom to be assigned designs as part of our mainstage season, but it is unusual for the entire design team to be students. We currently have a group of talented, hard-working design students who have earned the opportunity to design a big show like “Rent.” That’s one of the great things about our undergraduate Theatre program at NMSU; at other, larger schools, undergraduates seldom have an opportunity to design main stage shows. We will give students the chance whenever we can.”
“Rent” will preview at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 E. University Ave. Tickets to the preview are free for high school students and two-for-one for NMSU faculty and staff. “Rent” officially opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, and runs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, and Friday, May 4, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5. The 2 p.m. show includes a post-show discussion, Saturday, May 5, and the closing date is 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6. “Rent” is recommended for those 16 and over.