Meeting Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal.
Mark and Roger of Broadway's RENT.
I consider myself a true “Renthead.” I have seen the show, own the movie, bought the book, own the movie poster, bought the filmed last performance of it which I have seen many times, and on my iPod I have the entire CD plus every podcast about Rent known to iTunes. So it’s understandable that I awoke Wednesday, March 19 and was excited to meet Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, the Mark and Roger from the original Broadway cast!
They were here to perform in the national tour of the show. Since the musical closed on Broadway last September, RENT has still managed to find its way to its fans. For an entire week, the show was stationed at ASU Gammage. Gammage, being the place where all of the Broadway tours come, welcomed it. It is thanks to the Public Relations Manager there, Dana McGuinness, that I was asked to join a day of publicity and appearances by the two actors in Tempe.
The first stop of that day was to meet Dana and Brad, our driver. From there we went to pick up Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp from their hotels. From the moment Adam stepped into the car he brought in his fun personality and nice disposition. When Anthony came in he was just as polite.
Our first press stop was to the Fox studio where the two actors would perform a modified version of the song What You Own. On the way there I got the chance to chat with them and learn as much as I could. I discovered, as far as favorite musicals go, that Anthony is a fan of GYPSY and SPRING AWAKENING while Adam loves CABARET. Also, when singing along to a musical, Adam likes CHESS, HEDWIG, and the film version of “Hair”.
Once we arrived at the studio, I stopped my questions for the time being. We all went into the studio and Adam and Anthony warmed up their voices. Finally, in front of the cameras and being broadcasted live, the two sang their song. Although it was early in the morning, their voices amazed everyone. After the broadcast, people from the station came in to get their pictures taken with the stars.
Following that, we went back into the car and drove to the ABC studio. On this ride I discovered that the first show Adam was in was RENT! How’s that for beginners luck?! So why after all of these years did they return to the show? Basically, they had been asked by the producers to return. Since the experience was like coming home, they were glad to say yes. Since being back they are still enjoying it and liking it just as much as they did about 13 years ago.
Now, for the many who think that being on stage dancing and singing “La Vie Boheme” would be the ideal job, the two actors just think of it as any other career. “Like any other job, it takes a lot out of you. It’s exhausting but you still have the responsibility to keep at it,” said Adam. Anthony agreed and added, “It still is fun, just very demanding.”
When asked for advice for young actors, Adam surprisingly said to make sure to have a back up plan as well. One shouldn’t rely on only acting to get you where you need to be. Make sure to have a good education and back-up so that you don’t end up being miserable for a shot at fame. Anthony added in that one should find good training that helps you grow in talent while not damaging creativity.
As we arrived at the destination, we all went into the studio to watch as Anthony and Adam were interviewed. Like the other station, once done with what was needed to be done, many pictures were taken. It was at this place where I had my RENT book signed by them, and Anthony’s book, Without You, signed as well. Plus, I couldn’t help but to get my picture taken with the two of them.
Once this was over, my morning with Adam was complete. Then, with Anthony we went to the Barnes & Noble at Tempe Market Place for his book signing of the book Without You.
When we arrived at his book signing we were greeted with about 75 of his fans singing songs from the show and waiting patiently for him to come. Once introductions were made, out came Anthony. For the first couple minutes he had a question and answer time. Then it was time to sign books. The line was immensely long and the store, Barnes and Noble, quickly ran out of his book leaving some to grab his CD or even their own shoe for him to sign. It was here where I ended my morning with them.
Early that evening my parents and I went to Gammage for the show. As I was told, Gammage was about three times bigger than their usual stage so it would be interesting to see how they would perform. When I watched the show, it was obvious that the size was no issue. The show, as always was amazing and the crowd loved every second of it. Except for one mishap with the microphone failing to echo in “Tango Maureen” everything went very well. After the show, the cast members stood outside in the lobby to collect money for Broadway Cares, which uses the money for AIDS research.
Directly after that, my family and I drove to the cast party at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. We arrived just as the cast did and went inside. I was surrounded by the stars from stage! To my delight, I had my fan moments where I asked for pictures. In response they were very nice about saying yes.
By the end of the night, I had officially finished this amazing day. I learned what it was like to be a member of the press as well as seeing some of my two favorite actors in person. To see an actor on stage, you only get a hint to what they might be like. After spending the morning with them, I saw past that hint. Like most people they drank their coffee, talked about their family, and just hung out. If it weren’t for this opportunity I wouldn’t have known that and the lines separating the actor and character would still not have been drawn. Now that I see the differences I can really connect with what each person has to offer in and outside of RENT.
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