Joey Fatone will make Broadway debut in ''Rent.'' The 'N Sync singer will star in the musical hit for nearly six months while his quintet takes a break to explore other avenues -- like outer space

You may have a hard time imagining ‘N Sync’s Joey Fatone as a starving artist, but that’s what he’ll play when he makes his Broadway debut next month in ”Rent,” the New York Times reports. He’ll play the lead role of Mark, the struggling video artist and narrator of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical, which has been a hit for six years on Broadway and in touring productions around the world. ”It’s just a cutting edge kind of thing,” the boy band singer told the Times, although he says he also considered auditioning for the rather less cutting-edge Disney musical ”Beauty and the Beast.”

”It’s nice to have a chance to play a character, not just be myself,” said Fatone, who’s recently tested his acting chops in the movies ”On the Line” (with fellow ‘N Sync-er Lance Bass), the upcoming drama ”The Cooler,” and the current indie film hit ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” He’s certainly got time to stretch — Fatone’s run in ”Rent” will last from Aug. 5 to Dec. 22 — with the band taking a long break since its tour ended in April.

Meanwhile, bandmate Bass still hopes to spend the break in outer space. He’s still angling for a seat on this fall’s shuttle to the International Space Station, having gotten the backing of a TV production company that wants to film his voyage and will front the $20 million cost of the ticket, and taking medical tests in Moscow to ensure his fitness for space travel. His biggest obstacle has been the refusal of Rosaviakosmos, the Russian space agency, to acknowledge him as one of several deep-pocketed applicants for the open seat. Today, however, Bass appeared to be one step closer to being launched into orbit, as a Rosaviakosmos spokesman told Reuters that it is negotiating with the singer. ”What we can confirm is that talks are going on,” spokesman Konstantin Kredenko told Reuters on Tuesday. ”No contract has been signed. The talks could lead to one being signed, but so far there is no time frame for this.” Maybe while Bass is waiting to find out, he can visit New York and take in a play.

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