Anthony Deane Rapp is an American stage and film actor and singer best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent in 1996 and later for reprising the role in the film version and the Broadway Tour of Rent in 2009. He also performed the role of Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
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I'm so pale, I've been used as a reflective source of light on a movie set with my fellow actors on a shot.
I'm not kidding. This is serious.
A little bit about me: I'm an actor, I'm a singer. I've been doing this for a very long time, since I was 9 years old. And I feel very lucky to have done all sorts of things over the many different years - or decades. And I'm happy to talk about any and all of it!
I'm also a big gamer. And baseball fan. And LGBT activist. I have a badass brother who's an author and director, and I'm happy to talk about him too, and how tall he is.
I'm here at reddit NYC with Victoria. AMA!
Update: Thank you, as always, for your support and interest. I'll do my best to continue to earn those things. And I'll let you know what's coming up as it comes up. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for BroadwayCon News (January 2016!)... the Clubhouse Podcast news... and the various cool indie films that I've been shooting lately, and more.
Would you rather fight one horse sized Adam Pascal or 100 duck sized Adam Pascals?
I'm a lover, not a fighter. I'm a pacifist.
I would pet them both.
I would try to quell his rage at being transformed.
If they asked you to do Hedwig on Broadway, would you do it?
In a heartbeat.
Do you have a most memorable mistake from your time with RENT on Broadway?
One night I was very tired, and I had a bottle of water in my pocket that I would swig at very specific moments, because I had very little time to do it - I never left the stage in act 2, so I would have to get water surreptitiously - and one night, I was a little tired, or VERY tired, and I was just a little slow getting the water out of my pocket, and my mouth was literally full of water at a moment when I had to say a line.
So I sounded like a stroke victim.
Party at the Moon tower... You in?
Anthony! It's Rob (Bill's friend). Just woke up and saw your AMA on reddit, so I have a good, albeit personal, question for you:
1) What were your feelings doing Adventures in Babysitting as a gay man when your character had some mildly homophobic lines? Did you feel uncomfortable at the time about any of the scenes you or the other actors had (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og-pk5lXroU Thor's a homo!)?
No, I feel like that was honest behavior of teenagers in the late 80's at that time...if the film were being made now, I don't think that content would exist.
Rent saved my life, your portrayal of Mark is something that I'll forever cherish and hold closely, and Jonathans music is something that can be cherished by many forever so thank you for all that youve done as an actor, as a performer and as an artist and my question is in no particular order what are the 5 best games you've played in the past 10 years? They don't have to be favorites I'm talking well made, well designed, enticing titles, if you could give a why that would be awesome too
So some of them will be like 2-in-1 series, like Mass Effect 2 and 3, that counts as 1 to me.
Why? It is epic, moving, incredibly richly imagined, and utterly absorbing.
Next would be THE LAST OF US. Better writing and acting than in most films I've seen in the last few years.
BIOSHOCK and BIOSHOCK: INFINITE (that counts as one). Mindblowingly imagined, supremely intense, and it literally haunted my dreams.
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY. Finally, I got to really feel what it might be like to really be Batman.
And I just got the platinum for DEMON'S SOULS, and it's pretty extraordinary. It took a while to really get used to it, but once I did, it cast its profoundly challenging and mesmerizing spell on me.
There's so many more.
Hi from Boston! Been a huge fan since RENT. Your one man show "Without You" was one of the most heartwarming shows I've ever seen.
Can't think of anything with substance to ask so we'll keep it light.
Favorite junk food?
Favorite Xbox One game (I recommend Limbo. Simple platformer/puzzle game that has really cool artwork).
Favorite vacation destination?
Name one thing on your bucket list.
Thanks for doing this AMA! Can't wait to read all the responses! :)
I mean, it's not that junky - blue corn tortilla chips. Red Hot Blues, or just with salt.
LIMBO is an amazing game, but I've played it on the Playstation. SUNSET OVERDRIVE for Xbox One.
One of them - I'm in the middle of it- is going to all 30 baseball stadiums.
Hello! I love your work, and am especially happy to hear about BroadwayCon. As a lover of cons and Broadway, I love seeing the two come together! What are your hopes for this first BroadwayCon? Also, are there certain people who you want to get involved in it?
thanks so much!
My hopes are that it really sets a great tone for a very regular event, hopefully annual event. And Melissa Anelli has an incredible track record with LeakyCon and GeekyCon - at creating events that are SUPER-fun, incredibly fan-friendly, inspiring all the things you want it to be - never, EVER milking or bilking the fans for anything. And that it will be a great opportunity for audience and artist to interact in very meaningful ways.
Hi Anthony Rapp!! I'm a huge fan.
What was it like reuniting with Idina Menzel in If/Then after working together in Rent? Did you expect to be working together again? It seems like it would be interesting since there was a weird relationship with Mark and Maureen in Rent and then it was totally different in If/Then.
It was super-dreamy.
We have an incredible chemistry and mutual respect and love for one another as people and as artists.
And the whole experience was like a big bonus round.
Do you ever get irritated at constantly being asked about Rent or do you feel typecast at all with Mark being your most well known character?
I honestly do not get irritated.
Because I'm very proud of it, I believe in it, and I stand for the legacy of it.
And I may be typecast in some cases, but that's sort of out of my control. I've also played all kinds of parts over the years. I've played a serial killer, and a drama teacher, I've played Henry V, so I tend to play intellectuals or "smart folks" - I'm not playing jocks, but I wouldn't be cast as a jock anyways so whether that's typecasting or not, I can't be responsible for that.
How many cats do you have and what are their names?
I am a cat lord.
Hello Mr. Rapp! My all-time favorite movie is Adventures in Babysitting. I know the lines by heart and Daryl Coopersmith’s are some of my favorites. Can you talk about your experience working on that movie? (thank you!)
It was my first film.
And I've learned over the years how lucky I was that it was as fun, and easy going, and collaborative an experience as it was - because that's not always the case on film sets.
Chris Columbus was superfriendly and open-minded. And funny. And it set a great expectation for what all film sets should be like that has not always been met, because it was pretty rare and special.
Anthony, just how pale are you exactly?
Picture me on an empty field in the moonlight, and you'd see me from 500 paces.
Anthony, is it true that you once were used as the white balance for the Tonys broadcast? #whiteboyspice HI LOVE YOU <3 GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR AMA!
Heh. I don't think it was for the Tonys broadcast, as far as I know? But I think I've been used as a white balance check for some cameras? But on the film set of RENT, the cinematographer definitely used me in at least one scene FOR SURE as part of the light source for Taye Diggs in at least one shot, that I'm aware of.
But why are we all picturing you naked?
I could be wearing all sorts of clothes.
I’ve been a fan since I was 6 and first watched Adventures in Babysitting. 6 year old me had the biggest crush on your character. That movie influenced my 6 year old mannerisms so much and I watched it all the time. Fast forward some years and I’m 18 sleeping outside a theatre in Austin Texas waiting to be introduced to RENT. It was beautiful and again influenced me in a big way. When I got the soundtrack and realized you played Mark I was ecstatic! I had been a huge fan all my life and it was awesome to find out you were portraying my favorite character in my favorite musical.
About 10 or so years ago I had the opportunity to say hi to you and tell you how much I loved your work. I was at a small theatre in San Antonio watching a production of The Laramie Project when I spotted you in the audience. I was so star struck I forgot your name. I told my friend “Oh my god! It’s him!!! I have loved him since I was 6!!” Friend: “Who is he” “He was in RENT! He played Mark!” “What’s his name?” “Dude, I don’t know! I can’t remember!” “Go say hi!” “What am I supposed to say ‘Hey, I’m a big fan and I can’t remember your name?”
During the intermission you walked by me and I just froze. I live my life with no regrets, all my actions have shaped who I am. But that moment, missing the opportunity to say “Hi” and maybe even ask for an autograph, it still stings after all these years.
If I had gathered enough courage to say “Hi” that day, would you have said “Hi” back and forgiven me for being so excited to see you that I forgot your name?
And thank you for sharing that really sweet and lovely reminiscence.
What is your most embarrassing on stage moment from any show?
Well, when I was in the KING & I when I was ten, with Yul Brynner, at the end of the show, I had a line that i had to say from the very back of the stage, and we were playing 2,000-3,000 seat theaters, and I had no body mic - and one night, in Nashville, TN, I said my line, and Yul Brynner, onstage, said "LOUDER."
I was ten.
So I said it again, louder.
And I went offstage and cried.
Anthony, as a geeky teen in a series of unfortunate relationships I really loved your memoir "Without You". It was a powerful reminder that there is a life after whatever bad circumstance you find yourself in at the moment. Thanks for that.
You've done a lot of different types of work over the years. Have you ever had a year where you just felt stagnant? Is that when you've pursued other things? How do you decide to transition to something else?
Well, I think it was like 2000, I was not getting any acting work. At all. It was pretty scary. But I was starting to do more music - I always try to find something to keep my creative juices flowing, but honestly it was a very scary time. It felt like all the doors were closing, the phone was never ringing. And this was not long after my mom had died, and it was also after RENT had been a success, so it was especially depressing - it was the firs time that I felt like I was looking into the darkness of Wow, what if this is all really going away?
And then that all passed, when the next job i got was A BEAUTIFUL MIND, and that was a really good job. So you just never know when it's going to be good, when it's going to be bad, but if you keep plugging away, and keep plugging away, and being grateful for the good.
Would you do a movie version of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown?
I cannot imagine...how...that...would be?
It's so theatrical? And the idea of adults being on-camera playing those parts seems so strange.
What advice would you give to an aspiring performer?
Honestly, one of the things I always say is make sure you have plenty of other interests to sustain you through the lean times. And that feed your human as well as artistic souls.
Hi Anthony. I want to start off by saying how much of an inspiration you are to me.
Japanland really loves you and been waiting for your return.
My question is,
Any interesting, yummy or memorable thing that happened to you here?
And If you would give any advices for Idina, what would it be ? She's coming to Japan for the first time in her life to do her concerts.
I loved being in Japan so much. It's hard to isolate one specific experience. It's the overwhelming feeling of being inside this profoundly rich history - even though it's a very modern place, it's this wonderful blend of ultra-modern and ancient. And the experience of performing for Japanese audiences was very special, and the way in which they shared their enthusiasm and respect was extraordinary.
My advice would be to have her give all the love they deserve. And let her talent wash over you!
And I wish I could find the quality of soba and silken tofu here, that I had there. And the most special meals were the kaiseki meals - they're extraordinary multi-course meals that take like an hour or two hours, every course is like a mini sculpture.
Hi Anthony! I am a huge Broadway/Rent fan, and I love your work. My boyfriend recently talked me into watching Dazed & Confused and I loved seeing you in it. What was it like working on that movie?
That was a blast.
It was a surprisingly enriching experience, because on paper, it was hard to tell that the script was going to end up being as nuanced as it ended up being during the rehearsal process. Rich Linklater - there's an incredible method to his madness. And I'm a firm believer in what he does, and how he goes about it.
That's actually my favorite film that I've been in, as a film lover- if I were just an audience member, hadn't been in that film, that would be the film I'd love the most.
Thank you for doing this AMA! I loved you in RENT, and got insanely excited when marathoning Psych recently to see you in the musical episode. What was your favorite project to act/sing in? (movie, TV show, theater, anything)
Does your 'gamer' status include board games and if so which are your favourites?
I mean, it has a little, but not much in a long time.
I mean, growing up I played RISK and Monopoly - it's not really a board game, but chess, I've dabbled in chess. I'm okay at chess. But to say that you're good at chess when there are Grand Masters in the world would seem crazy... And I've enjoyed CRANIUM. I don't know if they still make it.
Joe Maddon is my neighbor, so I could set you guys up for a podcast :) also, exactly how tall is Adam?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
PM /u/Chooter and she'll forward over your info.
OH MY GOD.
Have you read any really good books lately that you would recommend?
THE ART OF FIELDING.
Anthony, thanks so much for doing this! I'm a huge fan of yours, and got to see you perform Rent in Saint Louis a few years ago. It was amazing so first I want to say thank you for coming to Missouri and being so awesome!
I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for you to perform Rent right after Jonathan Larson passed way. So my question is, how do you manage/compartmentalize the emotional highs and lows life throws at you like that while still performing and doing your job?
Thank you again!
It doesn't feel like compartmentalization. In the case of performing RENT after Jonathan died, it was just a matter of channeling all of our own very true, immediate personal grief into that performance. The show itself is about living your life fully in the face of intensely tough circumstances. And performing the show that night and thereafter just proved that what Jonathan had written was as true as it could ever be.
If Lin is a fan, and you loved Hamilton, and Groff is off to shoot the Looking movie in the fall... seems like they need a King. Interested? ;-)
Of course I'd be interested. Hamilton is one of the greatest things I've ever seen in my life. Although honestly, as much as anything, I'd love to be an audience member over and over and over again...
Where is your favorite place to get pizza in the city?
Co. is pretty good, interesting pizza. It's in Chelsea. That's some pretty yummy pizza.
Hi!! What was it like working with Jason Tam as David in If/Then?
He is a super-sweetheart. A fellow gamer. And one of the most consistently alive and responsive acting partners I've ever had.
What would be an ideal name if you were to get a new cat?
Ferdinand and Isabella are the most recent additions, and we wanted to name them a "duo-name" - either brother & sister, or a couple, two famous names that go together throughout history. So we loved those names together, even though I did not stand by the Crusades. In fact, the opposite is true. So their names do NOT condone the Crusades. They're just good names.
A cat's name has to be in the moment. I like human names for cats, rather than "sparky."
Would you consider yourself an introvert?
I consider myself overall pretty quiet? But I do like being social. So when I think of introvert, I think of somebody who doesn't like being social. But I also do value quiet-time and alone-time.
Thanks for taking some time to chat with us, good sir! Is there anything you might be able to relate to us, behind-the-scenes-wise, about the making of Dazed and Confused that people might be surprised to learn? What was the production like behind the camera?
Well, there was a lot of improv that happened during rehearsals? But once we set it, it was pretty close. We didn't veer too much. The film has kind of an improvisatory feel to it, but it was actually ultimately carefully orchestrated by Rich, what it ended up being. Matthew McConaughey- he really expanded his role from what was originally written in the script, in a very wonderful and exciting way. So I'm not surprised to see that he's come around to being the brilliant character actor that he was 20 years ago.
Hey Anthony. I loved your performance in "Danny Roane". I think it's a totally underrated and hilarious movie. What was it like working on that?
Well, I've known Andy since I was 11. So anytime I got to work and play with him was a pleasure. And I'm really proud of his work on that film in particular. And I think it's a very brave, very funny, very sad piece - all the things that good art can and should be.
Loved your memoir, I actually just picked it up again recently after reading it many years ago.
My question is do you think it is easier for actors for both theater and film to come out than it was when you did? Do you feel like you helped make it easier for others to come out?
Well, I don't know if I can take any credit for that, but I think absolutely it's become tremendously easier. And that's a good thing, that it has become easier. The progress that's been made is just exponential.
Anthony, how much fun was going back and doing the RENT movie? Also you were extremely creepy in Road Trip and I loved it. Thank you!
Edit: Thank you for being an awesome actor and doing this Ama, not being creepy.
It was - I call it a showbiz miracle that six of the original cast members got to come back together to do the movie. It never happens. So it was a wonderful surprise and just tremendously rewarding to go to work every day.
What has been your favorite stadium so far? Which have you not seen yet that you're most excited about?
Most excited? It's hard to think of the most excited... I'm really curious to see SafeCo field in Seattle. I have the feeling it's going to be quite beautiful.
You ever get high on bananadine?
Google tells me it's a hoax, so no.
Hi, Anthony! You are the awesomest Mark. :-) I've always wanted to ask somebody who did serious theater work...how nervous does a stage performer like yourself get every day preceding that night's performance? Obviously, I would be terrified. But, for the seasoned pro, are you able to just go about your day without worry when you have a show each and every night?
Yeah, it really is just like any other sort of regular activity in terms of level of nerves - it doesn't get nerve-wracking. There are certain nights when the adrenaline is rushing a little more - like on opening night, or if somebody really important is in the audience, but it doesn't feel like nerves, it feels like heightened intensity.
What's BroadwayCon going to be like? Will there be a turntable with the subway map built into it?
(Whose idea was that for if/then, anyway? It was a great touch)
Well, BroadwayCon is going to be very fun and spirited and enlightening and fan-friendly and inspiring and community-based. And I don't think there's going to be a turntable.
And between the designers and Michael Greif our director, I'm not sure which of them really came up with the idea, but they worked in collaboration to refine the idea - the set and lighting designer, and MIchael,
what is your favorite memory from working on rent? movie or stage. :)
It's so hard to pick one, but the opening night on Broadway - because normally wine you open on Broadway, you're not yet a hit, you're trying to become a hit. In our case we were already a hit, so opening night was pure celebration. And it was the only night my mom was able to come - she was quite ill, but she was well-enough to attend that night, and she was the main force in my life, and had made my career possible by being so supportive, so the fact that she was there makes it one of the most important nights of my life.
I was recommended to your biography by a student, so that's definitely on my list for the summer. I look forward to reading it. :) But on to my question: I'm an English teacher with a lot of theatre students in my class. What kind of advice can I give to those who want to go into performing on Broadway?
Expose yourself to all kinds of professional opportunities, either as an audience member, or attending master classes, or symposia, or continuing to get your training. There's no magic formula for getting cast in a Broadway show, but what everyone who DOES get cast has in common is a pretty high work ethic and certainly talent. But the discipline to really pursue it with vigor.
Hi Anthony! Big fan here! Loved your work in Rent!
Kind of a basic question, but what was your favorite number to perform in Rent? Maybe the one you had the most fun in, or the one that meant the most to you, or maybe just what you liked to sing the most?
Probably "What you Own." I mean, the distinctions between them are so minute, ultimately, but probably "What you Own" is the most satisfying night after night.
What is your favorite musical?
That I've seen as an audience member or to perform in?
If you were asked to perform in Miscast, what song would you do?
Also, I would just like to say thanks for being so nice at the stage door for If/Then and actually carrying on a conversation with me. It meant the world to me! :)
Probably something from "Spring Awakening" just because I'm too old to play those roles. So I don't know, I'd have to figure out what song, but one of those songs from "Spring Awakening" would be one of the songs I'd want to do because I'm too old to play it.
is there any chance that you would come to germany some time? And thank you for everything.
Everytime I listen to your voice I calm down. It even helped me, from getting rid of my panic attacs.
I hope I can see you some day!
greets from germany
Wow, that's so nice. Of course there's a chance I"ll go to Germany! I've been to Germany before. But I would love to return.
I would truly love to perform pretty much anywhere in the world. And/or travel there.
What are you most excited for about BroadwayCon? Also, what's your favorite quote from RENT?
I'm most excited to have my fellow artists experience the magic that Melissa tends to create with these events. Because I think it's really special.
And I think it has the chance to be incredibly rewarding and rejuvenating for those of us on this side of things, because showbiz can be a real grind in some ways- it's not just about having fans applaud, but to have the one-on-one experience of the give and take being met, in real time, where we're not behind a curtain, we're not separated, we are all in this together - I think that that can be very very meaningful.
For both sides.
I don't think of it in terms of quotes. I think of it as a whole piece. I don't mean to dodge the question.
Anthony, I skipped a finals review session to see you in Atlanta when you were promoting your book. Completely worth it! Any chance you will grace us with another memoir that picks up where the first left off?
Oh, I doubt it. The events of that book were so monumental - and I've had interesting things happen in the meantime, but there's nothing like losing my mother, being in a breakthrough hit show, losing my friend Jonathan who wrote that breakthrough hit show, and making it through that in one piece - the rest is way more mundane than that.
I just want to say that I adore your work in Rent (it's my favorite musical!!)
I was wondering if you have any headcanons about Mark, like what he does in his spare time or any sort of quirks that weren't an official part of the story?
Well, I'm informed by stuff that was in the workshop version that's not in the current version? So there was an early argument that Mark and Roger had that was in the workshop version that was always in the back of my mind, I think. But I don't tend to do a ton of that kind of stuff around building a character - it's more that happens if there's not as much in the material itself where you have to fill in more blanks. In the case of RENT, everything was so right there.
Hey Anthony! I am 14 years old and have been acting for the past 8 years. I'm incredibly passionate about my work and have taken every class imaginable, but I can't seem to get my foot in the door anywhere. I know I'm young, but what advice would you have for me?
(By the way, I've been a huge fan of yours for years. You/rent might actually be one of the main reasons I got into performing!)
I guess just continue to get your foot in any door you can, even if it's local theater, community theater, high school theater, and the rest will happen in the fullness of time. Or it may happen sooner, there's just no way to know for sure, there's no perfect scenario that anyone could ever create.
I've registered, I've worked out how to ask a question...Let's Go!
When are you returning to England? Gutted I missed you at the Men Choc Factory, and desperate to be blinded by the extreme light that is generated by you skin. I've also heard that you glow in the dark, so I need to see that for myself. British Love!
I'll be visiting Edinburgh this summer - it's not England, but it's the UK. I won't be performing, but I"ll be there attending the Fringe for about a week.
Just how tall is he?
My brother is 6 feet, 4 and a half inches.
I am about 5 feet 9 inches.
That is a huge difference in height between us. He towers over me.
What was the hardest part of Without You for you to write? I've read it eighteen times and it's really helped me through a lot of hard times.
Wow! That's more times than I've read it! By, like, a lot!
The hardest part to write was the scene after my mom died, of going into her room, and spending time with her body.
Because writing a book, I felt like I had to live through each of those moments as vividly as possible again in order to be able to write about the moment-to-moment experience, and living through it the first time was hard enough.
But the whole book was, by far, the most difficult work I've ever done. By a lot.
Hey Anthony! I'm going on trip to the city this summer, so I wanted to ask: what does the average New-York-residing-ultra-pale-man recommend a first-time-visitor do around town, besides the supper tourist-y things?
(@hnhys on Twitter, aspiring actress, and lover of all your work. Hugs!)
Well, the High Line - it's touristy, but it's because it's an extraordinary place. Go at a time when it might not be as crowded.
I tell people a great thing to do that's super-cheap is take the Staten Island Ferry at dusk. Because you go right by the Statue of Liberty, you're out on the harbor, it's beautiful, and when you return, it's to the lights of the city. It's a couple bucks. And it's kind of relaxing. And it's beautiful. And you're out of the city, but in the city, all the things.
And just seek out really good places to eat. Don't eat at your favorite stupid franchises. Don't come to New York and eat at TGIF. Don't do it.
Get out of Times Square. Go see shows in Times Square, but don't spend time there. Spend time downtown, Central Park, the river, MoMa...
And eat good food, NOT FRANCHISES!!!!!
I had the pleasure of meeting you at the If/Then stage door last year (you were nice enough to talk to me about a production of RENT I was working on at the time) and also to have communicated with you on Twitter a few times. Thank you for being so approachable and easy to talk to.
Anyways I'm about to move to NYC to study Acting (I'm 17), and I have a specific question pertaining to that--
What is a piece of knowledge/advice about being an actor that you wish you'd known when you were entering the NYC theater scene?
Well, I entered at such a young age, so I was learning on the job when I was 10 years old, so... the thing that keeps recurring over the many years is you have to be willing to weather the storms, the ups and downs, because they will come and go. Just like the rest of life. New York is not for the faint of heart. New York is a wonderful place - I find people to be quite friendly here - but it's demanding. So if you're going to do this, be ready for the grind of it.
If memory serves me right,
You're selected as one of audience participants in the performance of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" when you're at Edinburgh for Without You.
I didn't get to see you in it, wish I had , so I've been curious.
What words and how many could you spell correctly?
One more, What's your favorite part of that kind musical theatre festival?
Thanks for doing this AMA!
I honestly don't remember the words. It was 2 or 3, but they threw out to me one of the crazy, crazy words, like some weird bacteria - because they have to eliminate you eventually. So I did a good job with the regular words, and then I got a tough one.
My favorite part about the Fringe? Edinburgh is an extraordinary city. And the opportunity to stumble upon something brilliant in a tiny nook somewhere - there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of things going on at any given time - the wonderful gamble of seeing something wonderful or something terrible, at any given moment!
Do you have a favorite production of Rent that you experiences as an audience member?
Yes. Argentina, Buenos Aires, a few years ago.
Hey Anthony! First of all, you've been a massive inspiration & your work has gotten me thru some hard times -- so thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Second -- as an actor, I'm always curious about other people's processes. . . Do you enjoy "finding" characters and settling into the nuances & little choices that you get to play? Have you found yourself discovering new things about a character as you've gotten to perform night after night? Thanks for doing the AMA!
The answer to those questions is yes.
In a big way.
All of the above.
And thank you for your kind words.
Hey! I'm a huge RENT fan and I absolutely adored If/Then.
When will you have another amazing project where you have an unrequited love for Idina Menzel?
Edited to add: I saw you at Eataly the day after I saw If/Then. I didn't want to be a jerk and interrupt your meal, but I do want you to know that seeing you and Idina live was everything I thought it would be!
It's up to the Gods.
That's very lovely, thank you.
What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Who is the best superhero?
Do you every wish your life had taken a different direction?
Vegan double-chocolate chip.
I'm not a vegan. But I don't like butter and cream. So when I eat cookies, I eat vegan cookies.
Hi Anthony!! Huge fan. YAGMCB is one of my favorite musicals, and of course I love Rent ;)
What has been your most memorable moment as an actor? And what's the best NYC restaurant you've ever been too?
I'd say the best NYC restaurant is probably ABC Kitchen. It's extraordinary food. I've only been there once.
And the opening night on Broadway for RENT - see earlier answer.
Would you like to write your own musical someday?
Well, I sort've have! Hahaha! I adapted my book into a one-man show, and it's a musical show. I used music that I co-wrote, alongside music from RENT, so I didn't write the whole thing myself. But it does exist. And I'm hoping to get to do it in New York next year.
My friend borrowed my copy of Without You about 5 years ago...could you help me get it back please?
HEY FRIEND, GIVE BACK THE COPY!
Any advice for someone who is auditioning for a musical the first time? (specifically for rent, for the part of Maureen)
Sing your heart out.
Did you hate Joilet West as much as I did? I sat behind you during an assembly my freshman year. You were "that kid who was in Adventures in Babysitting."
I can't say I hated Joliet West, but I certainly didn't love it. What's occurred to me over the years is that I'm grateful to be from a place like Joliet, because it has helped me appreciate the great wide world that much more.
I'm from Scotland and I'm sorry to say that I've never heard of you. What's one piece of work you've done that I should watch?
The one thing would be RENT? because it's the most defining for me, I guess.
PC or console?
Mostly Playstation. A little bit Xbox One. And a little bit Wii U.
Do you know have any information reguarding the If/Then tour? Are you going to do the tour?
I don't honestly have much information. I know there's some cities that have been announced, but I don't know much more than you at this point, and that's the truth.
That's the whole truth.
If you had the chance to redo any show or movie that you've done, would you? If so which one?
When you're doing theater, you get to do it fresh, rather than going back to - I'd be happy to do Hedwig again anytime.
I got to do it in Pittsburgh in 2003, and that was a highlight experience.
But in terms of film, one of the things that's really special about film is that it's a time capsule in and of itself - so as long as there's 1's and 0's and digital information - all those films will exist for all time.
How about them Cubbies?
Well, it's a pretty exciting season so far.
And I have high hopes as always - but they are always on the verge of falling into the abyss!
Do you get sunburned or stay really pale like I do all year round?
I get sunburned if I don't wear sunscreen, but I'm very good about wearing sunscreen, so I don't get sunburn! Hahahahaha!
What baseball team do you like?
I also have a lot of affection for the Pirates, having worked in Pittsburgh over the course of many years several times, and I love PNC park, and I'm thrilled to see them doing well again - they went so long without doing well. So any kind of underdog team like that I have extra love for, because any Cubs fan shares underdog love.
By chance I'm reading Without You right now. Getting into the family stuff. I'm curious how your relatives responded to the honesty. Like your two little male cousins, do they look back and laugh or were they pissed by your description?
Honestly, some relatives were angered by some things. Other relatives seemed mostly unfazed. But as my publisher told me after the fact, no matter what you say about anyone - if you're writing nonfiction, someone will be upset. Even if you've gone out of your way not to offend anyone - someone will mostly likely get offended. I certainly didn't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I did intend to tell the truth, and I certainly told the truth about myself as well. So I stand by what I wrote.
Do you prefer performing in your band or acting?
I prefer acting, but doing concerts is like a wonderful respite from the structure of acting. There's a nice sense of freedom with it.
First of all, thank you for your book. I loved it when I first read it and gained a new appreciation for it when I lost my father. I have a few questions for you: 1) How are you/ how is life going? 2) Would you consider writing another book? 3) What projects are you currently involved in?
Thank you for doing this AMA. If you ever find yourself in San Antonio, TX I would love to make you a meal.
1.) I'm very well, thank you. My life is going quite well also. I feel pretty lucky in all sorts of ways.
2.) I would consider it, but it seems unlikely at this moment (see earlier answer).
3.) Oh! Potentially, sure? Just I have weird dietary things?
What's the secret to maintaining your exquisite pastiness?
Fellow pale person here. What sunscreen do you use?
Juice Beauty. I got it at Whole Foods. 'Cuz I didn't want a lot of chemicals and bullshit on my skin. And the other criteria that i had when they recommended it - because i had my full-beard at the time, and I didn't want sunscreen that would cake on my beard, and it actually blended into my beard so that it didn't look like I was rolling around in flour.
Hey Anthony, what's your most proud scene? The one that sticks out the most in your memory, where you suddenly go "this is me? holy crap!".
I don't even know where to begin...
I don't have that experience watching myself? I know it's weird... I mean, it was cool to see - a tiny clip of one of my scenes the year of A BEAUTIFUL MIND on the Oscars, and that was cool, to see a clip of myself on the Oscars.