Oh, man. I’ve had a long love affair with “Rent” and Anthony Rapp’s portrayal of Mark Cohen, but I now have a new love for the man behind the voice.
The book’s tagline says it all: “A memoir of love, loss and the musical “Rent.”
“Without You” is written in a way that feels like you’re having a conversation with a close friend. Rapp gives a firsthand account of the evolution of “Rent,” starting with its days as a workshop, long before it became a Broadway show. As he grows in his role as Mark Cohen, Rapp learns that he isn’t all that unlike his character – in both good ways and bad.
Much of the book is a sort of coming-of-age story as Rapp learns how to live while his mother is dying, how to be himself to those he loves most, who he wants to be and how he wants to be loved.
I laughed out loud several times. I had to take singalong breaks. I ugly-sobbed through the chapter discussing the death of “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson and the cast’s performance the night of his death.
I finished reading this book a few days ago, but I’ve been unable to listen to anything other than the original cast recording of “Rent.” I hugged the book when I was done, but I can’t stop thinking about the sheer beauty of this book and the stories it tells.