Anthony Rapp dishes about life on Broadway at the University of Cincinnati

February 9th, 2011

The News Record – The Independent Student Newspaper at the University of Cincinatti
By Megan Fingerman | TNR contributor

Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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Broadway star and actor Anthony Rapp made a special appearance Monday in the Great Hall of The University of Cincinnati’s Tangeman Center. The Programs & Activities Council sponsored the event in honor of the College-Conservatory of Music’s rendition of Jonathan Larson’s musical “Rent” opening Feb. 24.

Rapp, famous for his roles in “Dazed and Confused,” “Road Trip” and, most recently, the film adaptation of the rock opera “Rent,” also starred in the original Broadway production and has returned to the role several times in the past 20 years.

CCM’s cast of “Rent” opened the event, singing “Seasons of Love,” the musical’s title song before Rapp took the stage to discuss his experience as part of the “Rent” cast.

Anthony Rapp then took the stage to discuss his experience as part of the cast of “Rent.”

Rapp and his fellow castmates originally thought that “Rent” was just going to be a three-week workshop consisting of 10 performers. While they knew the production included core power songs and would be based off the Italian opera “La Bohème,” Rapp and writer Jonathan Larson didn’t dream “Rent’ would become such a widely publicized hit, he said.

Rapp talked about the transition from a small theater to Broadway as “Rent” became a sensation over the next few years. After the first dress rehearsal of “Rent,” Larson died.

The grieving process took over as Rapp experienced the loss of a dear friend and colleague. He explained the profound loss and the cast and crew’s efforts to overcome the sadness to honor Larson.

“We had to fill it with his beautiful words and music,” Rapp said of the performance the night after Larson died. With an audience filled with his closest friends and family, the cast memorialized Larson and the passion he put into his rock opera.

Today, “Rent” is one of the longest-running Broadway shows in history.

While the main focus of Rapp’s discussion focused on “Rent,” he opened a question and answer session for those with questions about his film and broadway history, his memoir and his advice for aspiring actors.

Rapp wrote his memoir, “Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent,” to honor Larson and his own mother, who died of cancer approximately 10 years ago.

Rapp has adapted his memoir into a musical that interweaves the stories of his Broadway role and the death of his mother.

Rapp emphasized the importance of never giving up and that being perfect is not everything when it comes to following a dream or choosing a career path.

Next up for Rapp is the long awaited film “The Other Woman,” starring Golden Globe-winner Natalie Portman, “Gilmore Girls” alumni Scott Cohen and former “Friends” cast member Lisa Kudrow. He continues performances of “Without You,” in theatres honoring Jonathon Larson and his mother. He hopes to eventually take the show to Broadway.