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Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts season under way

New director brings changes

November 8, 2010
By Stacey Kukkonen, DMG Writer

HOUGHTON - When an opening became available as director at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University, Susanna Brent jumped at the opportunity, even if it meant moving her family from Las Vegas to Michigan.

Last February, Brent stepped into the position and has since been handling day-to-day operations, such as filling positions at the Rozsa, booking talent and finding new ways to evolve the theatre.

"During the entire month of November and December, there is an artist exhibit in the gallery called 'Creating Out Loud' by Susanne Kilpela," she said.

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Susanna Brent, director of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University, talks to students dressed at Spamalot characters Friday and advises them to hand out flyers and tickets for the production.

As artists' work rotates through the gallery, the gallery will be taking shape, Brent said.

The Great Lakes Showcase, which for several years was located in the Walker Center, will move to the Rozsa Center lobby.

"This year, we're going to completely take over the downstairs area (of the Rozsa)," she said. "It's a really good time to be at the Rozsa Center."

While managing all of the acts coming to Tech this year, Brent is also preparing for next year's acts at the Rozsa, and has plans to bring actor and dancer Savion Glover and Garrison Keillor of "A Prairie Home Companion" fame to campus.

"We're thrilled to have them," she said.

Looking toward the future is just one aspect that brought Brent to Michigan Tech.

The Upper Peninsula is a far shot from the likes of Las Vegas, but it quickly proved to be a place fit for the young professionals.

"My husband and I had been living in Las Vegas for about six years and we had a baby," she said. "Vegas is just not the same after you have children."

Brent said even though Vegas was a fun city, it was time to set out for a more family-oriented small town with strong community.

The Brent family found that in Houghton.

"We were looking for opportunities for work for both my husband and I," she said. "We were able to find that here and it's perfect."

As the director of the Rozsa, Brent describes her typical day as "crazy."

"Which I love," she added.

A typical day starts later and lasts longer and includes day and evening meetings and activity in the evenings, such as a rehearsal or a show.

"I'm very used to the late night lifestyle and we certainly have that here," she said.

She was also so excited to move here, she said she didn't have time to worry about how different living in the U.P. would be to living in the desert.

"I think I got a pretty good taste of what it was going to be like because the first snow storm last year was the day of my interview and the second was the week we moved to town," she said. "I've seen the kind of snow that can fall. I'm looking forward to a big, hearty winter."

Brent holds a bachelor's degree from LaGrange College in Georgia.

Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at skukkonen@mininggazette.com.

 
 

 

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