THE LEADING MEN: "American Idol" Alum Anthony Fedorov Finds a "Season of Love" in Off-Broadway's Rent

By Michael Gioia
07 Jul 2012

Julie Craig and Anthony Fedorov in The Fantasticks.
photo by Joan Marcus

Were you ever a RENThead?
AF: [Laughs.] No, I was never a RENThead, but I have a lot of close friends who have done the Broadway production. And, Rent has been such a huge part of their lives, so I've seen them perform and always wanted to be a part of the show — to experience and see what it's like — so this is really a dream come true for me.

Who did you see play Roger in the Broadway production?
AF: If I'm not mistaken, I saw Will Chase as Roger.

Watching you on "Idol" — when you first walked into the audition room at 19 years old and with glasses — you seemed to exude more of a Mark "type." Were you always a Roger or is this a stretch?
AF: It's interesting because when I was [auditioning] for the 5th Avenue production, they wanted to see me for Mark. They didn't even see me as a Roger, but after I sang all the Mark [material], I asked, "Can you please just let me do one song for Roger?" And they said, "Okay." I sang "Your Eyes," and then the next day, they said, "Forget about the Mark sides. Focus on Roger. You're a Roger." [Laughs.] Inside I always saw myself as Roger, but on the outside — for a long time — I looked like Mark. Vocally, though, I've always been Roger. I have a rock-tenor voice, so it's always been my part.

You've played clean-cut roles such as Matt in Off-Broadway's The Fantasticks, the Prince in Cinderella and Link Larkin in Hairspray. Roger is a "180." Are you finding your inner rocker?
AF: The thing is, this is who I am on the inside. This is who I am and what the audience will have a chance to see. They'll have a chance to see some of my deeper feelings that I don't bring out in public — that I hold inside and suppress. They'll get a chance to see more of a complete person this time around. I've been playing these happy-go-lucky roles, but this is more in tune with who I am as a human being at this point in my life.

Fedorov in Hairspray

Does it excite you to take on more dramatic material and really delve deep?
AF: It's scary [and] exciting, but I'm looking forward to this challenge. I still consider myself an up-and-coming actor… I never went to acting school, I never had any kind of acting experience, and this is just an incredible opportunity for me to learn and dig as deep as I possibly can to see what I can bring out. It's going to be an incredible challenge. It's not going to be easy — I know that — but I'm looking forward to it. I'm scared and excited at the same time. I think that's part of who Roger is. He's scared, but he wants to leave a mark in this world before he goes.

Are you feeling scared because the character of Roger is so exposed, in a sense?
AF: Yeah. I will have to show my inner demons playing this role, and that's a little scary. When I did Joseph, I had to be naked in a loin cloth in front of 2,000 people every night, and that didn't scare me as much because I didn't have to show what was on the inside. This is something where I really have to bare my soul and just lay it out there — "Here's what scares me the most. Here's what makes me lose sleep at night. Here it is."

When did you get "bit" by the musical theatre bug?
AF: I got bitten by the theatre bug when I did The Fantasticks back in 2007. I fell in love with it. I was so nervous and excited at the same time. And, I had the pleasure of working with Tom Jones, the writer [and lyricist] of the show, [who also played the character of Henry]. He gave me a lot of really great advice. Just watching that man crawl out of that box night in and night out as if he's never done it before… It really gave me a lot of inspiration. It's not just singing; it's not just dancing or acting. It's everything put together. It's a different form of expression, and you get to create beautiful moments with your castmates. It's an incredible art form, and it's no longer something that I want to do until my music takes off, so to speak… That was my thinking process back in '07. I thought, "I'll do musical theatre until my record takes off, and then I'll just hope to sell my music." But now it's a part of me, so no matter what happens with my music career, I'm still going to be doing musical theatre. And, I'd love to transition into film and TV… It's a part of who I am.  Continued...