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Auditions for ‘Rent’ begin next week

The Lee Street Theater and the Catawba College Theater Arts Department are bringing the Tony Award winning musical “Rent” to Salisbury, and auditions are next week.
Dr. Beth Homan, an associate professor of theater at Catawba, said they wanted to do something “that was a little bit spectacular.”
She will be co-directing the show with Justin Dionne, managing artistic director of Lee Street Theater and a 2007 Catawba graduate.
“Justin is an alum, so it’s something we’ve been wanting to do really since Lee Street got on its feet,” she said.
“Collaboration is big and huge and needs to happen in the arts,” Dionne said.
“One of the main themes of ‘Rent’ is a sense of community,” Dionne said. “It’s a very diverse show.”
Appropriate, since the show will be bringing two different theater communities together, Homan said.
It’s also a cult piece they believe will be a huge draw.
“We knew it would go well at the box office,” Homan said.
Not only will the show be co-directed by Dionne and Homan, the cast will be a mixture of community actors and Catawba College students and the show will be held both at Catawba and the Lee Street Theater.
“We feel the collaboration goes both ways,” Homan said.
“It gives everybody a chance to meet new people and work with them,” Dionne said.
Catawba students will get to work with semiprofessional and community actors and “see what it’s like to work with grownups,” Homan said.
She added that Catawba students have a great work ethic, and the community theater group will get the feeling of working on a more professional schedule.
The split venue adds to the challenge of the show, allowing the students to experience the touring aspect of theater.
“We have to build a set that travels,” Homan said.
Dionne added that the students will learn about packing the set up, driving it to a new space and loading it in.
The actors will have to stay physically and vocally in shape and will have to learn to work in a variety of places.
Community auditions will be held through the Lee Street Theater Aug. 16 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Aug. 17 from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Lee Street Theater and Performing Arts Center.
Callbacks will be Aug. 21 at Catawba College.
Times for will be announced at a later date.
Those auditioning are asked to prepare 12 to 16 bars of modern music styled similarly to the show.
Auditions will also consist of range checks, cold readings from the script and a dance auditions.
Performances will be Nov. 13 through 15 at Catawba College Hedrick Little Theater and Nov. 22 through 22 at the Lee Street Theater and Performing Arts Center.

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