Thursday, January 26, 2023

My Review of Anthony Rapp's One Man Show

 Now you all I don't really like one person shows. But this was Anthony Rapp, so I risked it. It was wonderful...

Anthony Rapp’s Without You Engages Joyfully

Without You is based on Anthony Rapp’s 2006 book, Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss and the Musical Rent. The show is not a quick recap of his time in Rent, but about the emotions that Rent brought up and the story of his mother’s illness.

Anthony Rapp is stunning in Without You

The book and play Without You is centered on this time when Rent was beginning and was a massive hit AND at the same time Anthony’s mother was sick and getting sicker. Rent is a great play, yet one also with great tragedy. The parallels with his mother being sick are offset against the the play going through sickness and pain.

Anthony Rapp recalls his journey with Rent, from readings to Off-Broadway to Broadway. He doesn’t add a lot of new information that wasn’t in the book Without You, but the information was new to me.  I found it entertaining and interesting. I confess on traveling to New York (from Los Angeles) to see Rent with the original cast. I loved the show. To hear these new stories was fun and engaging. Without You is peppered with songs from the show, along with other tunes. Only 2 or 3 of the songs are sung completely, most are snippets used to relate to parts of the play.

Rapp’s tie of the story of Rent to the story of his mother’s illness is jarring at first, but little by little Without You pulls us into the analogies he is looking for. 

Anthony Rapp is stunning in the show. It is quick, tight and focused. The musical choices are absolutely perfect. Anthony Rapp’s voice is unique, and may not be your favorite. It isn’t my favorite, either as singing is such a personal thing. But Rapp’s voice work is stunning in the show. It pulls out emotion and pathos. His singing is the compliment that makes this show work.

Director Steven Maler understands the movement and stage business to emphasis the story, without being distracted. I absolutely loved the show, and left on a high.

Without You

PlaywrightAnthony Rapp | MusicJonathan Larson and others 
DirectorSteven Maler | CastAnthony Rapp

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