Theatre students Tricia Lazatin, Morgan Mincer, and Christian Hines in the Understudy, the theatre’s new lounge.

Niagara University Theatre-goers will now be able to enjoy wine, beer, and snacks before and during performances in the renovated Leary Theatre lounge, which was redecorated with new tables and seating over the summer. A focal point of the lounge is a beautiful antique Steinway grand piano, which was generously donated to the university in 2019 by the Leone family in memory of their father, Dr. Casmer Leone, B.S.’43, who practiced medicine in Niagara Falls, N.Y., for 47 years.

The “Understudy,” located beneath the stage, was slated to open during the premiere of “Pippin” in the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed its unveiling until fall 2021. Its grand opening will be on Friday, Dec. 3, before the performance of “Jane Austen’s Emma,” with a soft opening the night before. Theatre patrons can gather there up to one hour before the show and during intermission to enjoy beverages and appetizers. Proceeds from food and beverage sales will support the NU Players, an all-student organization that performs on campus and in the community during the academic year. All COVID-19 protocols will be in place.