Rapp has achieved fame on stage, on television, and on the big screen. Filmgoers may recognize him from Adventures in Babysitting or Dazed and Confused. He was in the successful play Six Degrees of Separation, which led to the movie, and held the title role in the Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
However, it was his role in a rock opera that appears to have resonated with the biggest audience. He portrayed Mark in the original production of the Broadway musical Rent a decade ago, then stepped back into Mark's shoes for the film version last year.
Between the time that he auditioned for that fateful show and now, he lost his mother to cancer. Now he has combined his love of writing with his loss and created a memoir that is emotional and engrossing.
Without You will appeal to Rapp's fans as well as anyone who can relate to various facets of his life: performing, auditioning, trying to make it as an actor; coming out; struggling with relationships; and, of course, losing a loved one. Note that due to some of the subject matter and the occasional curse word, I would recommend this to adults and older teens.
Without You is written in a lively, real tone, so much so that I could "hear" him talking as I read it. From the first few paragraphs, I knew I was going to love it. He is a brilliant communicator, able to detail and relay his experiences without sugarcoating them nor neutralizing them.
After the first chapter was complete, I told some friends about it, primarily those who liked Rent or those who, like myself, are actors. As I continued reading it, I found myself praising it to anyone who would listen. As I checked the title in a few nights ago, I told the librarian about it, and she promptly checked it out for herself.
This book is Rapp's memoir, yes, but it honors so many others. He mourns the passing of multiple friends, including Rent creator Jonathan Larson, as well as the passing of his mother, but in doing so, he pays tribute to their lives. He also celebrates the successes and the journeys of his family members, his favorite friends, and his cast members.
Without You is an unforgettable story told with honesty and compassion. Now Anthony Rapp can truly say his life is an open book.
This article was also published in the April issue of The Edge of the Forest, a children's literature monthly. I was very honored to be included in this month's edition, and I hope to contribute more pieces to the publication in the future. Thank you to Kelly for accepting this piece.
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