Some people are made into stars while others are born that way. On October 21, 1983, Aaron Kyle Tveit was introduced into the world. Although neither he nor his family knew it yet, he would eventually bring a bright spot of starlight to the Broadway stage.
In upstate New York, Aaron attended Middletown High School and was a dutiful student. His parents encouraged upkeep on solid grades – As across the board, for example – while Aaron involved himself in numerous extracurricular activities. His teenage years, therefore, seemed “all-American” and all-encompassing, with his interests ranging from sports (golf, soccer, basketball) to drama. In fact, he was cast in all four in his school’s theatrical productions, including a high school version of Little Shop of Horrors. Funnily enough, when Aaron recounts this time, he says, “If I had to make that choice […] I would not have done drama. I would have done sports.” Luckily, Middletown H.S. was lenient and allowed students to explore all realms of interests.
Aaron enrolled in Ithaca College following his high school graduation, but his mind still hadn’t been made up for what he wanted to study. He switched his major from music to drama, which ended up being a perfect balance for a budding Broadway star. Two years into college, the casting director for a national tour of RENT stopped by Ithaca to hold mock auditions. What was meant to be practice for the real world ended up being real for Aaron: he ended up landing a gig in the tour. The day Aaron and his father drove back from New York City for a callback, he was offered the opportunity to tour the country as part of the RENT cast. He would be portraying Steve, while covering Roger and Mark.
Following his stint in RENT, he was cast in another national tour; this time, it was for the popular musical, Hairspray. Aaron was cast as Link Larkin, the lovable crooning heartthrob, a role that would lead to his first appearance on Broadway. Immediately after the tour ended in July 2006, Aaron Tveit made his Broadway debut at the Neil Simon Theatre, portraying Hairspray‘s Link yet again. The “electricity in the audience was amazing,” he recalls, and it very well should have been: 75 of his friends and family members took a bus to Manhattan to catch the show.
Aaron hit the ground running in New York; so much so, in fact, that college was set aside. After his first Great White Way appearance, Aaron opted to star in smaller, off-Broadway productions. In 2007, he was involved in Calvin Berger, a musical loosely based on Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, and he portrayed D’Artagnan in a musical adaptation of The Three Musketeers. These eventually led him into the very prestigious role that would inevitably help shape his career.
At the Second Stage Theater, Next To Normal took its first breath in front of a live audience. Still early in its conception, the musical was heavily re-developed from that initial run which lasted from January to March, 2008 — yet Aaron always remained attached to the pivotal role of Gabriel “Gabe” Goodman. (His first run in the production even garnered him a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor.) The Second Stage’s production was met with mixed reviews, with many remarking that the show had potential despite overly comic and glitzy songs. The creative team behind the music knew that it would have to be reworked.
In the meantime, new projects kept Aaron busy. He returned to the Broadway stage to reprise his role as Link Larkin for a month-long run, which led into a supporting role a new musical-comedy, Saved, based on the film of the same name. During this Playwrights Horizons production, he played Dean, the complex significant other of the show’s lead character. From June until November of that year, Aaron joined the cast of the Tony Award nominated musical, Wicked. He was on Broadway yet again, showing off comedic chops in his portrayal of the aloof Fiyero. Notable West End star, Kerry Ellis, acted against him as Elphaba.
Midway through his Wicked run, Aaron jumped back into Next To Normal. In November, the revamped musical reopened at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.. The “comic and glitzy” numbers of earlier were scrapped, revealing instead a new form of a family drama. The Arena Stage production of focused primarily on Diana and the sad truths intermingling with the Goodman family. Aaron was once again showered with praise, winning a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Non-Resident Production. D.C. Theatre Scene called his performance “so powerful, he’s more electric than ECT.”
A brief Fiyero reprisal in January was once again cut short by Next To Normal, which opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre on March 27, 2009. The Actors’ Equity Association honored him with a Clarence Derwent Award, which was especially touching considering the role was partially molded by Aaron himself. “This is what you dream of,” he said, “to have your imprint on something… Over the last year and a half, my character and I have kind of met in the middle.” The show itself was only the eighth musical to ever win a Pulitzer Prize, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Next To Normal also received numerous Tony nominations, including Best Musical — and Best Performance nominees for the Goodman family, excluding Aaron. News of his snub left him feeling “devastated,” but he was still proud of the production as a whole regardless.
Leaving Next To Normal for a short while gave Aaron the chance to originate another role: this time, it would be the infamous Frank Abagnale Jr. in the musical adaptation of Catch Me If You Can. The first version of the show premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA, also starring Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz as Agent Carl Hanratty. The show received praise from publications such as Variety, who especially heralded Aaron’s performance by called him “charismatic, poised, confident, keen” and stating that he “sings and dances as easily as most of us kick off our shoes.”
While the show prepared a move to the Broadway stage, Aaron returned to Gabe Goodman in Next To Normal. During the run, he juggled stage performances with shooting a television series, as he joined the cast of the CW hit, “Gossip Girl” with conniving character, Trip Van Der Bilt. It would eventually become a reoccurring role, returning to the series two other times for small arcs within seasons three and five. Within this time, he held guest appearances in “Ugly Betty” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” His second film, Howl, shot the previous year, was making rounds through the festival circuit. Starring James Franco, the experimental biopic depicted the trial of Allen Ginsberg’s controversial poem, “Howl.” Aaron played Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg’s partner, in a dialogue-free yet memorable role.
At the remarkable Hollywood Bowl, Neil Patrick Harris directed the hot musical, RENT. NPH was a fan of Aaron’s work in Next To Normal and subsequently cast him as Roger, bringing his musical theater history to full circle — this time, in front of 18,000 audience members. The production only had a week to rehearse, but Aaron stated that he was comfortable with the material considering his familiarity with it. Girl Walks Into A Bar – shot in eleven days with a Canon 7D – was released via YouTube in March 2011 as part of a unique distribution experiment.
On the same day, Aaron Tveit started previews on Catch Me If You Can at the theater that started his Broadway run, the Neil Simon. Although met with mixed reviews, Aaron was constantly praised as carrying the show as the lead character (who was in most every scene). The Hollywood Reporter remarked on his “sparkling self-assurance, strong pipes, and natural charm. He makes it easy to like Frank.” The show ran until September 4, 2011, where Aaron then picked up several television guest roles, including another appearance in “Gossip Girl,” “Law & Order: SVU” (this time as a new character), and the critically acclaimed series, “The Good Wife.” An episode he shot for “Body Of Proof” earlier in the year also debuted at this time.
In December 2012, Aaron Tveit was cast as Enjolras in Oscar-winner Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. He’ll star alongside other prominent actors such as Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter, along with Tony Award winners Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne. In between rehearsals and filming for Les Mis, Aaron shot the pilot episode for a Jeff Eastin original series entitled “Graceland.” The show is scheduled to air on June 6, 2013 — less than one month after six sold out cabaret performances at 54 Below.
Undoubtedly, Aaron is on the rise. With his Broadway spotlight bright, it’s no surprise that he’s now tackling Hollywood with such a tenacious spirit.
LAST UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2013.
WRITTEN EXCLUSIVELY FOR AARONTVEIT.NET BY KRISTINA.