No Day Like an Evening at 54 Below

Anthony Rapp. | MICHAEL SHIREY

Anthony Rapp. | MICHAEL SHIREY

Anthony Rapp performed an intimate set at 54 Below on September 1 that included a mix of popular showtunes paired with a handful of original tracks.

He kicked off the evening off with “Then Again” from his album “Look Around” before covering R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” –– the song that landed him the role of Mark Cohen in the late Jonathan Larson’s musical “Rent.” In keeping with the ‘90s theme, he also sang Radiohead’s “Creep,” citing the rock ’n’ roll song’s influence on Larson, as well as on “If/ Then” writers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.

Rapp up close. | MICHAEL SHIREY

Rapp up close. | MICHAEL SHIREY

Rapp revisited songs from both “Rent” and “If/ Then,” along with selections from roles he joked he would never get to play — including “Left Behind” from Duncan Sheik’s “Spring Awakening” and “Falling Slowly” from Enda Walsh, Glen Hansard, and Markéta Irglová’s “Once.”

Among Rapp’s original pieces was the first song he ever wrote, a love ballad titled “Now I Know,” which he quickly followed with a break-up song. “If you ever break up, it is satisfying to write a break-up song,” he quipped.

Rapp is the author of “Without You,” a memoir that chronicles the early days of “Rent” along with his mother’s tragic battle with cancer. The book has since been adapted for the stage, which Rapp is hoping to workshop in New York. He closed his set with selections from this new musical, including his version of the title song, “Without You,” which was originally performed in “Rent.”

Rapp hardly got off the stage before being called back for an encore of “Seasons of Love.”

Rapp is currently preparing to reprise his role as Lucas in the touring company of “If/ Then.”

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