The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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‘Rent’ alumni Antony Rapp tells all during book signing

Antony Rapp, star of Broadway musical “Rent,” spoke openly about the trials, tribulations and joy of his acting career and the sadness associated with the loss of writer Jonathan Larson at the USU Grand Salon on Nov. 28.

Rapp appeared for a special book signing in honor of his newly released memoirs titled “Without You.” A culmination of his life experiences including his childhood, being gay, losing his mother to cancer, the death of good friend Larson and being a part of the “Rent” family.

“I enjoyed the book, it was well written,” said Samantha Netzen, an attendee. “I can relate to Anthony, I want to be an actress and my mother had cancer, the book really touched me,” she added.

“We are here because we are Rent heads. I have traveled all over the U.S. to see the show and I love Anthony,” said an enthusiastic Jenny Parker, a deaf studies major.

When asked if there might be another book in his future, Rapp responded that this was quite possible.

“The next book though, will probably be fictional,” he said with a chuckle.

Rapp was born on Oct. 26, 1971 in Joliet, Ill. and was raised by his mother along with two older siblings. He began acting and singing professionally at the age of nine. His first Broadway appearance was at the age of 10 in “The Little Prince and the Aviator.” At the age of 16, he stared in the movie “Adventures in Babysitting.” Since then, he has appeared in many other movies and theatre works such as “Dazed and Confused,” “Twister,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Evita” and “The King and I.”

In autumn of 1994 Rapp found himself working as a Starbucks barista after experiencing a dry spell from the acting bit. He had a meeting with his agent who had happened to have a copy of the “Rent” lying on his desk. The production was only going to run for three weeks and considering that Rapp could use the money so he decided to try out for a part. Despite messing up a verse of his audition song he got the part right away, which he says spoiled him. The show eventually went to Broadway and was made into a movie both were a huge success.

Rent won many awards such as the Pulitzer Prize for “Best American Drama,” the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for “Best Musical,” the Outer Critics Circle Award for “Best Off-Broadway Musical” and the Drama League Award for “Best Musical.”

Unfortunately, Larson passed away before seeing these accomplishments due to an untimely and preventable death on January 25, 1996. The cast decided that their hard work and passion for the musical would be a tribute to Larson’s memory and genius.

“There were gifts in losing Jonathan, we all grew from it, but it was still a terrible event to lose our friend,” said Rapp. “It was a terrible moment but at the same time, there were many things that made our lives richer for it.”

“One of my best experiences with the show was that my mom was well enough to come to opening night on Broadway,” said Rapp. His mother had been struggling with cancer and eventually lost her battle with the disease in May of 1997.

He credits his mother for her support and for taking him to the theatre at a young age, which inspired him to become an actor.

Rapp gave a brilliant, candid and fun speech. The entire audience laughed, cheered and gave appropriate sighs of sadness. After listening to Rapp speak there was a complete understanding of how he gave such a radiant and emotional performance in “Rent.”

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