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U of I professor stars in Sunset Boulevard

By Michal Szczepaniak

Kyle Widener took a trip down to Washington, DC earlier this week to watch Nathan Gunn perform. Gunn, who is Widener's voice professor, just recently finished performances of Sunset Boulevard at the Kennedy Center. Widener says he admires Gunn's ability to command an audience on stage.

"He just embodies everything that I would want to be as a performer. He truly dives into each and every role that he gets. And just every single time, he blows my mind," Widener says.

Gunn says he got the casting announcement back in November. He started rehearsals just a few weeks later. Sunset Boulevard ran as part of the Kennedy Center's Broadway Center Stage series for one week. The show opened on February 1, with Gunn's final performance last Wednesday. Also in the show were Broadway actors Stephanie J. Block, Derek Klena and Auli’l Cravalho, best known for voicing Disney’s Moana. Gunn says he feels grateful to be performing with such talented artists.

"From the point of view of being their professor, right, as a voice teacher, and you know, the co-director of Lyric Theatre at Illinois. All those stars they look up to come out and say, Wow, you're in great hands, do everything he tells you. And that's good," Gunn explains.

Gunn will return to the University this week. He says he will miss the show, but looks forward to being back with his students again.

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