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'American Idol' Alum Anthony Fedorov: How Starring in 'Rent' is Bringing Him to 'A Better Place Emotionally'

"This show hits you like a ton of bricks," says the season 4 finalist who plays Roger in the off-Broadway production.

Anthony Fedorov 2012 P

If there's one thing American Idol teaches its finalists, it's the ups and downs of the entertainment business. Just ask season 4's Anthony Fedorov. In 2005, he came in fourth behind eventual winner Carrie Underwood, then took the musical theater route, securing a starring role in the off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks and six international touring productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (one of which took him to Tokyo on the day of the March 2011 Miyagi earthquake).  

Not one to rest for long, Fedorov was cast in the lead role of Roger in the New World Stages production of Rent, which opened on Tuesday night off-Broadway. But while originally meant to be a six-month run ending in January 2013, Fedorov will instead be the last Roger in this run, as the show has posted a closing notice for Sept. 9.

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“That was definitely a surprise and it hit the cast pretty hard,”the 27-year-old tells THR's Idol Worship. “We were just told a few days ago. We’re all very disappointed and it’s making every performance feel that much more important.”

Indeed, playing a character who's dealing with the death of his girlfriend has already hit close to home for Fedorov, especially during rehearsals. “Running around in a loincloth in Joseph did not scare me at all; Rent does because I have to open up my heart and soul and reveal things I struggle with on a daily basis," he says. "The show brings up all my emotions about the loss of my brother.”

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Fedorov’s brother Dennis died in 2006 of sarcoma. “The first couple of years, I stayed strong for my family. But I was in denial. I only broke down a couple of times these last six years. I was trying to outrun all the things I was feeling on the inside. But this show hits you like a ton of bricks. There is something beautiful about that. It’s very liberating. After I’m done with Rent, I feel like I’ll be in a better place emotionally.”

For now, he's still grappling with the emotions of a stage run cut short. “When I started in musical theater, I knew it would be a lot of hard work and that I would have a lot of challenges," says Fedorov. "I knew that American Idol wouldn’t help me anymore and I had to put the show behind me. I’ve been working hard on my acting, my work ethic and walking into a room prepared. That has helped me to be accepted by my peers in the theater community and that means a lot to me.”

Fedorov is still an active recording artist, with a new EP, Never Over, available on iTunes and his own website. The title track of the six-song EP was written in memory of his brother.

Twitter: @Idol_Worship