Broadway Baby

Source: Bello
Date: June 2014
By: Dio Anthony

What do you call an actor who knows ow to sing and dance? Who has been on Broadway, originated multiple roles on the stae, and finds himself on a hit action-packed television series? Some would call it a triple threat, I like it call it… an Aaron Tveit. And lucky for him but unlucky for the rest of us, there’s only one.

Currently, you can catch Tveit flaunting (why wouldn’t he?) his exceptional acting talents on USA’s Florida-set series “Graceland” as undercover rookie FBI agent Mike Warren. Now even though the camera adores him, and fans of the show want nothing more than to stare at Mike Warrens’ abs and arms when for storylines sake he’s rendered shirtless, this 30-year-old thespian is in no way close to the end of his reign.

With the exception of an arc on the popular hit series “Gossip Girl,” avid small screen watchers might not have been familiar with Tveit’s talents before “Graceland’s” premiere in the summer of 2013. That was probably because he was simply off wowing other audiences. The New York native, after having left college early, was on his way around the nation starring as Link Larkin i the first national tour of Hairspray. The role of Link would prove to be rewarding, as it led to Aaron’s Broadway debut.

Just seven years later, and a few streets over, Tveit would originate the groundbreaking role of Gabe in Next To Normal in Time Square’s Booth Theater. Followed by the role of Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can at the Neil Simon Theater, where his introduction took place years prior. Already, Tveit seems like an independent spirit; an actor going against the grain, going from theater to film, while others do the opposite.

“I never chose to leave the stage,” he says to me. “It wasn’t a conscious decision I had made. I made a conscious decision to gravitate towards whatever material moved me, whether that was stage, film, or TV. When I read the pilot script of ‘Graceland,’ I knew that was my next move.” After an impactful first season, his series is back for a second, an excitingly giving support to the fact that his “next move” was the right one.

Still, south Florida is no walk in central park — literally. He’s traded Manhattan’s breeze for Ft. Lauderdale’s humidity for the time being, but let it be known [that] he’s happy to do so. His words surprised me. “Living in Florida is very different, but there’s something about the process of this production that is familiar to me. We’re all here for one thing, and that is to make this show. The fact that we’re all here with a sole purpose makes it about the work; and when it really is all about the work, it shows in your performance. Most of us are transplants, so it’s very much like doing a national tour in that sense.”

Once “Graceland” returns this summer, fans will see that things on the Floridian set have in fact been heating up, and I’m not referring to the scorching weather that the cast and crew endure to bring viewers at home an explosive thrilling ride of a second season. Tveit guarantees that there’s much more to say about “Graceland’s” sophomore leg than just “bigger and better.”

“Mike’s coming back in a different way. I was particularly excited about having the show return because, coming back into it, I really wanted to hone in and focus on Mike’s character. At the end of the day, he’s a product of his surroundings. As an actor, it was great being able to cut deeper into his character’s personality, now that we have the platform to tell more stories and show other sides of our characters.”

I don’t know if it’s the hair, so flawlessly tossed. Or the eyes, a changing-blue. Or perhaps it is his genuine and soft demeanor that is to blame for his charisma and spark. Aaron Tveit has the face and the build, and don’t forget the smile – of the boy next door. That is, if the boy next door was the star of more and than one world famous stage-show and if he casually gets invited to sing at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. He looks like the kind of guy you want to bring home to mother, and let’s be honest: he probably is the kind of guy you can bring home to your mother. Whether he lives next door or not, he’ll always be this generation’s Broadway golden boy, as if the dozens of screeching fans outside his stage door would ever let you forget.

To quote Tveit’s own character: he is the one.