Synopses & Reviews
Anthony Rapp captures the passion and grit unique to the theatre world as he recounts his life-changing experience in the original cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent
Anthony had a special feeling about Jonathan Larson's rock musical from his first audition, so he was thrilled when he landed a starring role as the filmmaker Mark Cohen. With his mom's cancer in remission and a reason to quit his newly acquired job at Starbucks, his life was looking up.
When Rent opened to thunderous acclaim off Broadway, Rapp and his fellow cast members knew that something truly extraordinary had taken shape. But even as friends and family were celebrating the show's success, they were also mourning Jonathan Larson's sudden death from an aortic aneurysm. By the time Rent made its triumphant jump to Broadway, Larson had posthumously won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. When Anthony's mom began to lose her battle with cancer, he struggled to balance the demands of life in the theatre with his responsibility to his family. Here, Anthony recounts the show's magnificent success and his overwhelming loss. He also shares his first experiences discovering his sexuality, the tension it created with his mother, and his struggle into adulthood to gain her acceptance.
Variously marked by fledgling love and devastating loss, piercing frustration and powerful enlightenment, Without You charts the course of Rapp's exhilarating journey with the cast and crew of Rent as well as the intimacies of his personal life behind the curtain.
"As Rent hits the big screen, Rapp, who appeared in the film and the original cast of the Broadway hit, has written a sensitive, heartfelt memoir chronicling his life on and off stage. The actor who played video artist Mark Cohen pulls back the curtains to show the musical's genesis, which involved endless rehearsals and false starts. He lauds the genius of Jonathan Larson, its creator, and the supportive New York Theatre Workshop, which lent its facilities to the exuberant troupe and director. Rapp writes most movingly of his friends who lost their battle with AIDS; the death of Larson, who died of an aortic aneurysm before the April 1996 Broadway opening night of his Pulitzer-winning show; and of the long, painful demise of his own mother from cancer. While the book sometimes plunges too deeply into its twin themes of love and loss, Rapp recognizes the healing power of drama and theater, writing that acting is "an escape of sorts." Absorbing, warm and hopeful, the book celebrates a man, his work and a generation struggling with AIDS but determined to survive.(Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information." Publishers Weekly
"Anthony Rapp has written a courageous, brutally honest memoir that breaks new ground in writing about the constantly changing arena of the American family experience. The beauty of Rapp's writing lies in his ability to touch the reader with such intense emotional power." Chris Columbus, director of the film adaptation of Rent
"There's a moment in Rent when Roger damns his best friend, the character played by Anthony Rapp, by exclaiming, 'Mark hides in his work!' Here, Anthony hides nothing. In his account of Rent's backstory and the pain of losing friends and family, Anthony shares incidents and feelings most of us would hesitate to reveal to anyone. As the father of Rent's creator, I think Without You is a marvelous testament to the power of the show. As an audience member, I think it's a wonderful read and, even more impressive, a terrifically honest one." Al Larson, aka "Poppa" or "Pop"
"Anthony Rapp's exquisite account of his formative years with Rent is heartbreakingly beautiful, a contemporary portrait of an artist as a young man. This is a memoir filled with love a love for the enabling possibilities of the performing arts, for the fragile bonds between family and friends, and for the mysterious enormities of life itself." David Román, author of Performance in America
"Without You deserves accolades purely for its author's courage and candor. I expected to be moved, but I didn't count on being completely swept up in the emotion that carries this story so eloquently and poignantly to its end. Rapp may be an actor, but his ability to lay himself bare is the great talent on display here." Camryn Manheim, author of Wake Up, I'm Fat!
About the Author
Anthony Rapp has been acting professionally since he was nine years old. He's best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning landmark rock opera Rent, taking the show from off Broadway to Broadway, Chicago, and London. He shared an OBIE Award with the rest of the original cast for his performance. He has appeared in numerous films, including Adventures in Babysitting, Dazed and Confused, the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, and, most recently, the film adaptation of Rent. In 2000, he released his debut album, Look Around. He lives in New York City with his partner, Rodney To, and their three cats, Emma, Sebastian, and Spike. This is his first book.
Table of Contents
losing my religion 1
wild bill 45
getting it all 58
saviors and angels 66
mr. and mrs. smith 90
we begin 98