Correction: The run dates were incorrect in a previous version of this story.
When he was still in elementary school, Danny Kornfeld’s parents took him to see the Broadway production of “Rent,” the rock musical about a group of young New Yorkers at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
“Why I took an 11-year-old to see ‘Rent,’ I’m not quite sure,” his mother, Pam Kornfeld, said. (For the record, Danny thinks he was just 9.)
She added, “Maybe it wasn’t the best parenting decision, but he just loved the show.”
In retrospect, it all has the look of destiny.
Danny, now 25, will return to his hometown next week as the star of the 20th-anniversary national tour of the Pulitzer-winning “Rent,” at the Fisher Theatre starting Tuesday and running through March 26.
The graduate of West Bloomfield High School and Syracuse University’s drama program plays Mark Cohen, the show’s central character — a young filmmaker making his way in the big city.
“Mark’s the play’s narrator,” Danny explained when reached between performances last week in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“We see the show through his eyes. Mark lives in the East Village at the height of the AIDS epidemic. He’s single, and creating this film about his and his friends’ lives over the course of a year.”
One of the things Danny likes best about the character, he said, “is that I get to be directly involved in the action — but at other times step aside and just observe.”
Danny’s older sister Julie — an attorney working with refugees in New York — says she can’t remember a time when Danny didn’t say he was going to be an actor.
“That was clear from birth,” she said. “I don’t remember my brother ever not being an actor.”
It’s a variation on the line you hear over and over again from anyone who knew Danny as a kid. He was going to be an actor, he’d tell you. Period.
He credits several teachers at Abbott Middle School, including vocal-music director John Deierlein and theater teacher Ryan Moore, with steering him into community theater.