BroadwayCon’s Anthony Rapp Calls ‘Rent’s’ Mark, a ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Experience [EXCLUSIVE]

Broadway and Former Rent star Anthony Rapp is eagerly awaiting BroadwayCon’s return after a two-year hiatus due to coronavirus (COVID-19). BroadwayCon is the premiere fan convention for all things the Great White Way. Rapp, who currently plays Lt. Paul Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery, sat down for an exclusive with Showbiz Cheat sheet to discuss the event as well as his own Broadway past, and his “once in a lifetime” experience originating the role of Rent‘s Mark.

Anthony Rapp poses with the 10th anniversary sign for the Broadway play 'Rent.'
Anthony Rapp | Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Anthony Rapp talks BroadwayCon

Rapp discussed his excitement over the return of the event he co-founded with Melissa Anelli.

He shared that the nature of theater is “so much about coming together in person.” Therefore it is vital to both stars and fans that they continue to share these collective experiences.

“Theater artists are generally directly involved with audiences. We have that sense of intimacy and connection unlike other genres,” Rapp explained.

“The kinds of panels BroadwayCon provides are wide-ranging and cover all sorts of topics. We are talking about social justice issues and equality. Diversity, inclusion, and telling fun stories about what it was like to be part of an integral cast. It’s a real mixture of that kind of programming. That is exciting for all of us who were part of the creative projects to get the chance to interact more directly with our audience,” he shared.

BroadwayCon 2022 will include artists such as Andrew Barth Feldman, Dear Evan Hansen & High School Musical: The Series, Aaron Albano of Hamilton & Newsies, Ben Cameron of Wicked, Fredi Walker-Browne of Rent, and Grey Henson of Mean Girls and The Book of Mormon.

Also featured at the event will be Isabelle McCalla of The Prom & Aladdin, Jelani Remy from Ain’t Too Proud and The Lion King, L Morgan Lee from A Strange Loop, Sergio Trujillo of Ain’t Too Proud & Memphis, Thayne Jasperson of Hamilton and Will Roland from Dear Evan Hansen to name a few.

Rapp was a Broadway actor before ‘Rent’

Growing up in Illinois, Rapp found he enjoyed working in theater and began working in community plays as a young boy.

Rapp spoke of those days fondly, saying he was lucky to have the support of not only his mother but other mentors throughout the earliest stages of his career.

“I was lucky in the sense that I had that kind of support which was instrumental in my early development,” he explained. “I was lucky that my mom was supportive.”

Rapp shared that during that time period, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the community of kids that expressed an interest in working in the theater was smaller.

“It was not really like a thing. It just so happened that there were a ton of opportunities,” Rapp revealed.

Rapp would play roles in the Broadway productions of The Little Prince and the Aviator, Precious Sons, Six Degrees of Separation, Rent, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, The 24-Hour Musical, and If/Then.

Anthony Rapp calls ‘Rent’s’ Mark ‘a once-in-a-lifetime experience’

Although Rapp has a myriad of Broadway shows on his resume and moved on to a role in the Paramount+ series Star Trek: Discovery series, fans continue to remember him to Rent‘s Mark.

Rapp says being a part of the musical’s original cast and the subsequent movie was a “once in a lifetime experience.”

“I feel incredibly grateful to have been a part of it,” Rapp explained.

“All the people I met either in the show or because of the show. Opportunities that come my way almost at some point or another because of it; Rent continues to be a touchstone, and it’s just the biggest gift, and it continues to be the biggest gift.”

At the close of his Rent Broadway run, Rapp took, as a souvenir, the one piece of clothing synonymous with the character, Mark’s scarf.

The now-iconic part of Mark’s costume was purchased in a thrift store. However, the scarf was tattered when Rapp finished his run as Mark.

The actor keeps it as a memory of one of his most significant career highlights.

You can see Anthony Rapp and other talented members of the Broadway community at BroadwayCon. The event takes place July 8-10 in New York City.

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