On Monday, January 10, 2011, I also had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Anthony Rapp after his and Adam Pascal's concert at Town Hall (click here for my review). Personable and gracious, I was honored that Anthony took the time to answer my questions.
Best known as "Mark" in the Tony Award Winning production of "Rent," Anthony Rapp received an OBIE Award for his role. He has gone on to do it all...theatre, film, television, and author. His numerous theatre credits include Broadway's "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," "Six Degrees of Separation," "Precious Sons" (for which he received an Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Nomination), and Off-Broadway's "Some Americans Abroad," "Private Jokes, Public Places," and "Spalding Grey: Stories Left To Tell."
Anthony has lit up the big screen in such films as "Adventures in Babysitting," "School Ties," "Dazed and Confused," "Six Degrees of Separation," "Rent," "Man of the Century," "David Searching," "Road Trip," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Winter Passing" (a film written and directed by his brother Adam Rapp). On television, Anthony has been seen in "The Lazarus Man," "The X-Files," "The Beach Boys: An American Family," "Kidnapped," and "Law & Order: SVU."
In 2000, Anthony released his debut album "Look Around" performing in clubs and colleges around the country and in 2006 his memoir "Without You" was released, focusing on his time in "Rent," the death of Jonathan Larson, and the passing of his mother. "Without You" was most recently turned into a one man show, debuting at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA and then featured in NYMF 2010 (click here for my review) and moving onto a production in South Korea.
Anthony is currently out on tour with Adam Pascal in “Adam & Anthony Live.” They have one more stop on their US Tour. January 29 at 8pm: The Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My earliest memory is watching some tap dancer on TV and I didn't think to myself, "I want to be a tap dancer," I just remember being moved/impressed by the life energy force coming from him and his performance. I feel like that was the seed that was planted as to what performing could be about. Then I started doing shows and had very specific people working with me who were very inspirational at the time.
2. Who's the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with the Cohen Brothers or Martin Scorsese.
3. What's the best advice you've ever received? "The only way out is through." It's from my friend Cynthia O'Neil who runs "Friends in Deed." She gave me that advice during a very, very tough time in my life when my mom was sick. I have learned over and over again how to true that advice is.
4. What do you get from performing in a solo show that you don't get from performing in a Broadway show? There's a kind of freedom and ownership that is really sweet. There certainly are Broadway shows that I've loved, but some of things that have made the biggest impression on me as an audience member are concerts. So, I aspire to communicate/convey/share that kind of thing that has moved me. It's a very big dream come true doing a concert, like tonight. Being in "Rent" was kind of like both a show and concert at once in a really fantastic way...being able to tell a story, play a character, and act, but kind of also front a rock band. Now I get to do both, separately, but more. "Without You" is kind of like that too, part show part concert.
5. If you couldn't be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? It's hard to think of something else out of the arts entirely...I teach, direct, write, produce, but if had to be something completely out of the arts, I don't know that I would want to do this as a career, but I love playing poker and it's such a crazy career that I would never want to do it as a career, but it is a passionate pursuit. It's more than a hobby, but less than a job. If I had to choose something, I think I would teach.
6. Favorite way to spend your day off? There are so many different ways I like to spend my day off. Like when we were on tour with "Rent" last year, if we were near some place where I could play poker, I would it. Poker is such a different head space. It's a totally different way to think and be than performing. If we were in a really amazing place, I would spend the day traveling around or hiking or something in the area that you could only do there. I'm also a big believer in true vacation time and vacating, turning off things and have quiet time and chilling to recharge the batteries.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga.
8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.
9. Favorite website? One of them is The Daily Dish (Andrew Sullivan's Blog). He's a really smart and interesting person full of contradictions. He writes very eloquently about things. I don't always agree with him, but I find it very provocative.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.
11. Do you have any strange or unusual talents that nobody knows about? I'm very, very flexible.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I have dreamt about conversations with my mom who's been gone for 14 years now and that's always been nice. Whenever I wake from those dreams, they feel so vivid. You know, a night like tonight, I think she would really be proud, even though she might not have liked all the songs.