Live in Living Color: Stage and Screen Star Aaron Tveit is "Alive" in NYC Cabaret Debut

By Michael Gioia
10 May 2013

Tveit and Vanessa Hudgens in Rent.
Photo by McCarten/Mathew Imaging
Throughout the evening, Tveit also touched upon his college experience at Ithaca College, where he began as a Vocal Performance major, but decided to switch his focus to Musical Theatre. (He said that he had his parents' blessing to pursue a career in theatre.) "What You'd Call a Dream," a song written by Craig Carnelia for the musical revue Diamonds, was a piece "thrown" at him by friends his freshman year at Ithaca, and the first tune he performed for his professors. He revisited the touching song again in his 54 Below concert.

In the midst of college, Tveit was cast as the Mark and Roger understudy in the national tour of Jonathan Larson's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent. He talked about his time on the road and in the 2010 Hollywood Bowl production — in which he starred as Roger opposite Skylar Astin as Mark and Vanessa Hudgens as Mimi — and then offered "One Song Glory."

Another highlight of the evening was the lesser-known "I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You," from Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, which was seen in the musical's Chicago premiere and later replaced by "Shiksa Goddess" — both made famous by original Last Five Years star and Tveit's Tony-winning Catch Me If You Can co-star Norbert Leo Butz — for Off-Broadway. He followed with Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's popular ballad "Run Away With Me" from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown, a song that he performed the last time he sang in a New York City concert (here's the YouTube video, one of the best performances of "Run Away With Me" on the internet); Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman"; and Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You."

After offering his take on Taylor Swift's "We Are Never, Ever, Getting Back Together," Tveit said with a laugh, "[The song is] catchy as sh*t!" The crowd, it should be noted, sang along as Tveit — looking dapper in a powder blue collared shirt and vest — rocked out.

For his last number, Tveit said "Goodbye," the final song in the 2011 Tony Award-nominated Best Musical Catch Me If You Can. It was his first time singing the song in New York — sans his May 3 concert — since his starring turn as Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can. A standing ovation followed.

In case you weren't among the few to score a ticket to Tveit's run, Broadway Records will record "The Radio In My Head: Live At 54 Below," a live solo album based on his engagement.

( staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)