He’s Got the Beat

Source: PAPERMAG
Date: 2010 September 27
By: Whitney Spaner

Actor Aaron Tveit has found himself in an enviable spot. Most people — girls and guys alike — would kill to play James Franco’s boyfriend. In Howl, the biopic out this month about legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Tveit plays Ginsberg (Franco)’s longtime lover, Peter Orlovsky.

For Tveit’s first feature film, it’s a big jump, considering he looks like he stepped out of a Vanity Fair article about the Kennedys and his most prominent role to date was as Trip, Nate Archibald’s uptight cousin on “Gossip Girl.” But Tveit was ready for the challenge. “I didn’t approach him as a gay man, just as a man who was in love with this other person,” he says. And as for Franco? “He was completely welcoming and warm. So dedicated.” Their on-screen chemistry works. Cavorting around San Francisco during the 1950s, snuggling on park benches and sneaking around corners for kisses, Tveit and Franco look like they were lost before they found each other.

Although Tveit’s film career is just beginning, he’s well-known in the New York theater world. He dropped out of college in 2004 to join the touring company of Rent and has been working steadily on stage ever since. Last year he became Broadway’s answer to Zac Efron after starring in the hit pop-rock musical Next to Normal, and this winter he’s starting rehearsals for the musical version of Catch Me If You Can, in which he plays the Leonardo DiCaprio role. After leaving NTN in January and spending the summer in L.A. rehearsing for a special production of Rent directed by Neil Patrick Harris at the Hollywood Bowl, he’s looking forward to getting back to Broadway, especially when he recalls some of his wilder on-stage shenanigans. “The morning of the Tony Awards last year we had rehearsal at Radio City. All the shows were there and everyone was in full costume. I was standing in a kick line for the opening number with Dolly Parton’s hand in one hand and the Donkey from Shrek in the other, and I was like, ‘This is kind of ridiculous.'”