Anthony Fedorov holds the role of Roger close to his heart. The singer-actor, who placed fourth on Season Four of the reality-singing competition "American Idol," has been waiting for years to play the bohemian artist searching for "Glory" outside the walls of his cold and shaggy East Village apartment. After a few auditions for Rent, Fedorov was cast — twice. The actor was slated to perform as Roger Davis at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre until Tony Award-nominated Rent director Michael Greif offered him the role in the current Off-Broadway revival. Prior to Fedorov's Off-Broadway run, we caught up with the star — who talks about the importance of Rent's message — in his final week of rehearsals. After losing his older brother, Denis, to sarcoma in 2006, Fedorov finds himself constantly moved by Jonathan Larson's Tony Award-winning score and the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning show that is Rent.
You have about a week left until your debut in Rent. How are rehearsals going?
Anthony Fedorov: Rehearsals are going great! It's been a really incredible experience, and I haven't even started the show yet. Just living the story out every single time we get on stage to rehearse a number is pretty incredible. I know the show at this point, so now it's about adding those layers and continuing to explore within [that] world… I woke up this morning, and I was like, "Oh, my God. I'm opening next week!" I'm feeling pretty good. I still need about a week of my guitar playing, but I'm almost there. Everything else is coming along nicely.
You've been tweeting about taking guitar lessons…
AF: In two short weeks, I was able to pick up all of the guitar parts. Now I'm just practicing and trying to tighten it up — make it crisper and cleaner.
Did you have any guitar experience going in?
AF: No… I actually bought a guitar a few months before I got cast because I was slated to do the 5th Avenue [Theatre] production of Rent in Seattle, so I started nimbling on the guitar when I got [cast]. As far as learning these parts, this is really the first time I'm playing them. [Laughs.] It's pretty cool. I was a little bit nervous in the beginning because I [thought], "I don't know if I can learn all of this in a short amount of time," but I was able to do it…and being a lefty makes it that much more special.
AF: I was supposed to [play Roger] at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and then I got cast in this production, so I ended up doing it here in New York. Unfortunately, I had to pull out of the Seattle production. It really was a difficult decision because I love Seattle. I love the theatre community out there, and they really helped me believe in myself — that I could do this. I was really looking forward to coming back to the 5th Avenue stage [following a stint as the title character in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2009], but when [Off-Broadway's Rent director], Michael Greif, called me — two hours after my audition — he said, "We want to have you for the part." Everybody in Seattle was really supportive, and they understood.
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