Aaron Kyle Tveit (born 21st October 1983), is a New York based film, theatre, and television actor. In the Broadway community, his name is one that is instantly known and respected, and this renown has started to spread wider than just the New York stage. In a new feature, we put Tveit in our ‘Stage Spotlight’ to look at development of his career, and how he became a prince of the stage.
His theatre career first started with a national tour of Rent (2004) in which he played Steve, but also understudied for Roger and Mark; the former of which he would go on to play at The Hollywood Bowl in 2010. His first leading role came the year after (2005), when he was cast as Link Larkin in Hairspray. This was a role he played on and off for three years. In the gaps between playing Link, he had other theatre roles in plays including The Three Musketeers and Saved! He also used this time to extend his portfolio out into the world of film, where he had small parts in films such as Ghost Town (2008) and Howl (2010).
Following on from playing a dumb, self-centred character in Hairspray, he went on to play the leading male Fiyero in the much loved Wicked; a role he played from 2008-09. However, as he was performing in Wicked, he was also working on something that would be a turning point in his career. This was a play called next to normal, a complex and emotional play that deals with a mother whose worsening bipolar disorder affects her whole family. Tveit originated the role of Gabe, for which he was nominated and won multiple awards; in addition, the play itself is one of only nine musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
This was the role which made people start to sit up and take notice of Tveit, and his pure presence in the musical theatre industry. His vocals and intensity on Gabe’s main song ‘I’m Alive’ are frankly incredible, and have the power to bring goosebumps to the skin and make hairs stand on end.
His talent suddenly noted, it led to him being cast as a recurring character, Tripp Van Der Bilt, in The CW series Gossip Girl; but theatre goers and producers were sorely missing his presence on stage, and were desperate to get him back. This return to Broadway came in 2011, with him originating another role, that of Frank Abagnale Jr., in the musical adaptation of the the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. Playing a role that was also played by Leonardo DiCaprio could be intimidating, but Tveit took it in his stride; doing so well that the real Frank Abagnale Jr. said of him, “Aaron has all the energy and commitment that Leo had… Aaron strives to be the very best of the best.”
When it was announced that Les Misérables was to be made into a film, Tveit was cast as the swarthy leader of the rebellion, Enjolras. As the only Broadway representative among a collection of well known names from London’s West End, as well as some of Hollywood’s finest, it was clear that Aaron Tveit was a talent that was trusted in this big movie. This film offered the opportunity for his exposure, and his fan base grew tremendously, with many hopping on the bandwagon – including myself.
Since then, he has moved into doing a lot more television work rather than the theatre, with lead roles in series such as Graceland and more recently, Braindead. However, he has not completely forgotten his stage roots, debuting on the West End at the end of 2014 in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Even more recently, earlier this year, he played the lead role of Danny Zuko in the television special, Grease Live. He always states that his heart lies in the theatre, and that Broadway will always be his home; so I’m sure it won’t be too long until his dulcet tones are heard on live theatre stages again.
Did You Know?
- When he was a child, he played the violin and French horn.
- When the plans for a Broadway adaptation of Anastasia were first under way, he was the frontrunner for the part of Dimitri.
- He auditioned for the role of Finn (played by Cory Monteith) on Glee, but was denied the part because he looked too much like an Abercrombie & Fitch model, and not enough like a regular midwestern teenager!
- He was the only actor put forward for Fiyero when we released our Wicked movie dream cast!
- ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, by Taylor Swift, is one of his favourites to perform. He once trialed it for fun at his performance at 54 Below in 2013, and since then it has become a fan favourite. He most recently performed it at Elsie Fest 2015.
- Baseball – The actor is an avid sports fan, having played baseball, golf and soccer when at school. However, like a real New Yorker, baseball was the one that found a place in his heart. He played multiple times in the Broadway Softball league, and is soon starring in the baseball film Undrafted.
- Hamilton – The Broadway sensation has had Aaron Tveit in its audience more than once, and he was the first to give a standing ovation when ‘Schuyler Sisters’ was performed at this year’s Miscast. He also took part in their weekly show #Ham4Ham, where he sang ‘I’m Alive’.
Performance to watch: His 2008 performance of ‘Run Away With Me’ from The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown.