June 26, 2007

Theater lobby is memorial to
former Sacramento State student

Sacramento State’s new theater lobby is named for N. Matthew Mahan, a 1989 graduate who died in 2002.
Sacramento State’s new theater lobby is named for N. Matthew Mahan, a 1989 graduate who died in 2002.

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The new lobby at the Sacramento State University Theatre is more than just a gateway into the world of drama and music—it’s also the legacy of a former drama student.

The N. Matthew Mahan Theatre Lobby was dedicated Thursday, June 14, during a private gathering of about 50 family, friends and University officials.

The lobby welcomes theater-goers with a curved interior featuring metal textured squares. A large plasma television screen on the wall can be used to create a multimedia playbill.

Designed by Sacramento architect Curtis Owyang, the stylish foyer went from dream to reality through a generous gift from Mahan’s mother, Judith Reynen, and her husband, John Reynen.

Mahan, who graduated from Sacramento State in 1989, died in a motorcycle accident on March 24, 2002. He was appearing in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Reno Little Theater at the time of his death.

“Matthew represents the best of what we have at the University and the department,” says Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez.

There is still more to come. The lobby is just part of a renovation package that will include new landscaping in front of the theater entrance, says Carole Hayashino, vice president of University Advancement.

Judith Reynen says she first became aware of the need for a new lobby from her friend, University library gallery director Phil Hitchcock, who helped spearhead the project.

Mahan had a great love and passion for the theater, says Reynen. Adrienne Rice, a reviewer for the Reno News and Review, said Mahan’s performance as Chris in All My Sons “often transcended the artifice of acting and just felt real” and described his characterization as “honest, sensitive and compelling.”

Theatre and Dance Chair Linda Goodrich observes that the lobby was completed in time for a notable birthday for the department. “It’s pretty awesome that it happened on our 50th anniversary,” says Goodrich.

A photo of the lobby is available at www.csus.edu/news/imagedownload/. For more information on Theatre and Dance Department programs, call (916) 278-6368 or visit www.csus.edu/dram/. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.