#PrepareAtPeace: Josh Walker Enjoys Lead Role In ‘RENT’ 20th Anniversary Tour

May 29, 2018

Former WPU Musical Theatre student, Josh Walker, has recently enjoyed a lead role in the off-Broadway production of ‘RENT’ on their nationwide 20th Anniversary tour. The rock musical has become internationally famous since its 1996 Broadway debut.

Walker stars as Tom Collins, a lighthearted NYU philosophy professor who suffers from AIDS while living with friends in New York City’s East Village. Walker first took the stage with the ‘RENT’ national tour in San Jose this past spring.

“I think a huge reason that I got this job was because Peace showed me how to be an individual.”

Josh Walker, Former WPU BFA Student

Josh Walker, Alum, with RENT cast mates.
Josh Walker (center) with his ‘RENT’ cast mates.

Prior to hitting the road with the cast and crew, Walker had been working as an actor and theatre educator at the historic Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, VA. He heard about the ‘RENT’ auditions while visiting his mother in New Jersey and decided that it would be good career experience to audition for such a large production. When he made the trip to New York City, he was excited, albeit shocked, that the casting director asked him to return the next day.

“I went up to New York, not thinking anything of it, and I auditioned,” Walker said. “And in the room he asked me if I could come back tomorrow.”

A few callbacks and roughly one week later, Walker found himself packing his bags to embark on a nationwide tour. Since taking the role, Josh has performed in California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, and more. A natural-born performer, Walker is excited to combine two of his dreams – acting and traveling. But, no matter where he travels, he reflects fondly on his time at WPU.

“His dedication, humility, and creativity in classes and rehearsals have certainly made him a skilled, professional performer.”

Amy White, MFA, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Musical Theatre

“I think that a huge reason I got this job was because Peace showed me how to be an individual,” Walker said. “And our department showed me how to stand out without trying to make yourself stand out.”

Josh posing with a friend in Cleveland, OH
Josh posing with a friend in Cleveland, OH

Despite his recent success, Walker maintains his humble and charismatic demeanor while reflecting on his time and education at WPU. He cites his close connections with the #PeopleofPeace for his ability to connect with his and the main themes of ‘RENT’, which are love and acceptance. Amy White, MFA, one of Walker’s former theatre professors at WPU, believes that Josh has what it takes for a promising, professional career on stage.

“The WPU Theatre Department is so proud of Josh. His dedication, humility, and creativity in classes and rehearsals have certainly made him a skilled, professional performer,” White said. “I’m sure ‘RENT’ is just the beginning of a long and successful career in theatre.”

Walker’s leg as Tom Collins recently ended as new artists are periodically cast throughout the year-long tour.

For more news and feature stories, search #PrepareAtPeace on social media, or visit www.peace.edu/news.

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See Josh Perform with RENT