Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: Memoir of Anthony Rapp

Without You: A memoir of love, loss, and the musical RENT
by Anthony Rapp
306 pages

I love the musical Rent. LOVE it. Seriously, it's so great and moving and beautiful and the music just sticks with you. I've seen it a few times live, one of which was at the Barn Theatre in Augusta, MI where Jonathon Larson (the writer of Rent) spent a couple summers earning his equity card prior to moving to NYC and writing Rent. That performance was probably the most moving one that I've seen since a lot of the people there had know Jonathon. Wow. I was left speechless.

If you haven't heard the story of Jonathon Larson and how Rent came to be, then you should read this or rent the DVD of the movie version (which features most of the original Broadway cast including Anthony Rapp) and watch the documentary on the second disk. Look out for the picture of my beloved Barn Theatre (that I've been going to with my parents since I was young).

But, this book really isn't about Jonathan Larson or the making of Rent. It's about Anthony Rapp's experiences with playing the character Mark Cohen for years (from the workshop production to Broadway), living as a homosexual, relationships, and dealing with the loss of him mother to cancer, along with other things that came around. Rent just happened to his backbone through years of strife and heartache in his life. The lyrics to the songs and the core of his character Mark just resonated throughout his real life to make this a very moving memoir. But I think that my favorite thing about reading this was I could distinctly hear Anthony Rapp's voice (as Mark Cohen) while I was reading it. It had a little bit of everything I look for in a memoir: realness, challenges, some hilarity, some heartache, and a good dose of hope at the end.

9 out of 10. Such a good book.


  1. My sister lent me this book but I haven't read it yet. This is just the incentive I need to pick it up - thanks for the review.
    We saw the movie together and then gave each other the DVD for Christmas. I'd love to see the play live.

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