Pay ‘Rent’ a visit before it closes

Wed, 04/23/2008 - 9:57am
By: The Citizen

The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical “Rent,” written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, is coming to The Fox Theatre in Atlanta for five performances from April 25-27.

The 2007-2008 national touring production of “Rent” features Heinz Winckler as Roger Davis and Anwar Robinson as Tom Collins.

Winckler was the winner of the first “South African Idol” in 2002 and the fourth place finalist in the 2003 inaugural “World Idol” competition, in which he competed against “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson.

Robinson was the seventh place finalist on the fourth season of “American Idol.”

On stage, Winckler played Tony in the Toronto production of “West Side Story.” He has recorded three hit albums with Sony BMG, including: “One Step Closer,” “Come Alive” (both South African Music Award (SAMA) nominees for “best pop album”) and “Moment of Truth.” His song, “Once in a Lifetime,” was a SAMA nominee for Best Single. He performed the song “Chasing Shadows” for the Walt Disney movie “Treasure Planet” and participated in the Westlife Greatest Hits Tour in South Africa.

Robinson will make his stage debut in this touring production of “Rent.” American audiences will recall Robinson as the music teacher who was rocketed to television stardom on season four of the pop-culture phenomenon “American Idol.” His vocal range quickly landed him a coveted spot in Idol’s top 10, where judge Paula Abdul touted him as “technically the best singer of the competition.” Robinson has toured the country as part of the Idols Live show. The New Jersey native has worked and appeared with a number of music icons, including Clive Davis, Patti Labelle, Kelly Price, Byron Cage and Pastor Donnie McClurkin. Robinson recently released his debut album, “The Truth About Love.”

“Rent” is the theatrical experience that transformed how a generation feels about musicals, changed Broadway forever and inspired a major motion picture. Set in the East Village of New York City, “Rent” is about being young and learning to survive, falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. The show has made a lasting mark on Broadway with songs that rock and a story that resonates.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews. It rapidly became a sold-out hit. The show transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996 where it continues to play at The Nederlander Theatre. “Rent,” now the seventh longest running show in Broadway history, will close its doors at Nederlander Theatre on Sept. 7. The show was originally set to close on June 1, but ticket sales have pushed back the final week to the end of this summer.

Inspired by the Puccini opera "La Boheme," Jonathan Larson's look at the counterculture residents of New York's East Village in the early 1990s was born in tragedy.

The success of “Rent” is always tempered by the death of its creator, Larson. Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on the morning of January 25, 1996, just hours after the show’s final dress rehearsal off-Broadway and ten days before his 36th birthday.

“Rent” features musical direction by Tim Weil, choreography by Marlies Yearby, set design by Paul Clay, costume design by Angela Wendt and lighting design by Blake Burba.

Tickets are available through authorized agents at The Fox Theatre Box Office, participating Publix and other Ticketmaster outlets, online at or charge by phone at 404-817-8700.

Additional show information can be found at

For Winckler’s official website, visit To follow Robinson’s journey on tour, go to

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