John Pointer, Photo by Kirk R. Tuck www.kirktuck.com
Critics are raving about ZACH’s production of the rock opera RENT. What makes this production so extraordinary? If you ask director Dave Steakley, it’s the brilliant Austin musicians on stage, some of them for the first time, in a raw, hyper-energetic exhibition of what makes Austin unique in the first place: It’s the live music capital of the world!
Just ask Austin writer extraordinaire Spike Gillespie: “RENT is further proof that this city is crawling with magnificent talent!” (Read more.)
Magnificent indeed, there’s a lot going on with the musicians appearing in RENT when they’re not on the show. Many of them front some of Austin’s most popular bands.
Take John Pointer, for instance, a multi-instrumentalist, actor, arranger, composer, producer and performer. He plays Roger in the show, but has been a full-time musician in Austin since 1991, when he moved here from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to attend the University of Texas.
Ginger Leigh, Photo by Kirk R. Tuck www.kirktuck.com
According to his parents, John could sing before he could speak, mimicking the melodies of the lullabies he heard. By the age of 5, he was studying piano, at age 6 he started cello, percussion at age 8, guitar at age 11, bass at age 13, and later banjo and mandolin. He studied cello performance and composition and graduated from the University of Texas in 1997 with a degree in music and lacking only two courses for a second degree in Italian.
In fact, he’ll be touring throughout Italy following ZACH’s run of RENT, which closes in just 4 short weeks! Between now and then you can not only catch him in RENT, but also in a one night only performance of his own music. He will be joined by Dave Madden, one of the most well-respected up-an-coming songwriters in Austin, and special guest Vicki Genfan, Guitar Player Magazine’s “Guitar Superstar of 2008″ live on RENT’s stage! Click here for more info on that show.
Check out everything John’s ever recorded for free at http://patronism.com/JohnPointer.
Courtney Sanchez, Photo by Kirk R. Tuck www.kirktuck.com
Hopping the pond with John to Italy are rock sensation Ginger Leigh, who fronts the Ginger Leigh Band here in Austin, and Courtney Sanchez, who’s starting a new musical journey with her original neosoul band, Sway.
Ginger, who currently stars as Maureen in RENT, tours the country as a singer-songwriter and recording artist, but calls Austin home. Her career has taken her around the globe, creating music fans everywhere. She’s released eight CDs to date, and as one of Austin’s hardest working musicians, she has grown and developed a revolutionary independent music career. You can pay whatever you feel and download everything she’s ever recorded at http://patronism/GingerLeigh. That’s the beauty of Austin …
Courtney Sanchez, the soloist in RENT’s “Seasons of Love”, has appeared in DREAMGIRLS, THE GOSPEL AT COLONNUS, PORGY & BESS and now RENT at ZACH Theatre, so she’s no stranger to our stage. Courtney has been in music, theatre and dance for thirty-three years and has performed alongside Brannen Temple, Guy Forsyth, Patrice Pike, Malford Milligan, Matt Wilson and more.
Roderick Sanford, Photo by Kirk R. Tuck www.kirktuck.com
RENT star Roderick Sanford, who’s been in scores of shows at ZACH since the early 90s, has a voice that comes straight from the toes. Singing with Courtney in the Atlantics, Roderick is both a well-known local actor (winner of the B. Iden Payne Award for “Outstanding Actor in a Musical.”)
“The soaring voices of Sanford and soloist Courtney Sanchez prove the restorative powers of soul music … the entire ensemble demonstrates the dexterity of the human voice to the delight of the audience.” (Read more.)
Normally you need to go to several local venues to catch these acts, and many of them are on the road making their livings as musicians for most of the year, but you can see them all on stage for a few more weeks in ZACH Theatre’s RENT. Catch ‘em now! Tickets start at just $15 for students and $25 for general public. Many shows are selling out, so call the box office to check availability: (512) 476-0541, x1. More show info is online.
Viva la vie boheme!
Special thanks for photography by Kirk R. Tuck.