“Surreal!”

That’s how recent theatre grad Zach Zatet ‘12 describes the opportunity to work with Anthony Rapp at Suffolk.

One of the original stars of Broadway’s iconic musical Rent, Rapp recently turned his bestselling memoir into the one-man musical Without You. It recounts his turbulent journey through the convergence of two life-changing events: the early days of Rent - including the untimely passing of playwright Jonathan Larson - and the illness and death of his own mother.

Rapp performed the play at Suffolk’s Modern Theatre for one week – June 19 - 24 – its first public appearances before a series of previews in Edinburgh and London.

Full circle

For Zatet, the chance to work with Rapp was a unique bookend to his Suffolk experience.

“I was actually in Boston for an Anthony Rapp book signing [for Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent] the first time I visited the theatre program at Suffolk,” recalls Zatet. “That book still has a special place on my desk at home. It’s an absolute honor to be chosen to work on this project.”

Zatet never imagined he’d have the chance to work on the theatrical adaptation of the book that inspired him, especially at his alma mater. He served as Assistant to the Producer, and is not the only Suffolk grad or student who earned a place on the Without You crew. Fellow alumni Jessica Miller ’12 acted as Assistant Director, while current students Anthony Schiavo and Danielle Ruff were Assistant Stage Managers/Board Operators.

Ruff managed to finagle time off from her two summer jobs – with Broadway in Boston and Cirque du Soleil – in order to seize this incredible opportunity:

“As a theatre major and a workstudy employee at the Modern Theatre, I’ve met a lot of upper-echelon talent,” says Ruff. “But this is my first big ‘resume-worthy’ production. It took some juggling, but I made it happen – how could I pass this up?”

A glimpse of the dream

Thanks to the University’s two busy theatres and faculty relationships with companies around Boston, Suffolk theatre majors often have chances to work on student-run and professional projects during their undergrad years. But while Zatet and Ruff both have extensive experience on stage and behind the scenes, they agree that this opportunity was truly unique.

“Anthony Rapp’s story resonated very deeply with me since I’m also an actor who has branched out to learn other aspects of theatre,” explains Zatet. “Rapp’s success is, essentially, what we all dream of.”