Aaron Tveit Front and Center

 Aaron Tveit On Stage Front and Center

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There were those of us who knew as early as 2005 when the Hairspray tour hit Chicago that AaronTveit, the young star playing Link Larkin, was something special.

To his success as the matinee idol, hip swinging, Elvis belting Larkin which he then brought to Broadway, he has added a long resume of impressive credits among them Wicked (2008), Saved (2008), The Three Musketeers (2008), Next to Normal (2009), RENT (2010), Catch Me If You Can (2009, 2011), Gossip Girl (2009-2012), Howl (2010), Les Misérables (2012), not to mention his recent series of sold-out concerts at 54 Below. It is not within the scope of this article to chronicle that career; that is something that I hope to be able to do in the near future for one of the publications for which I write.  But rather this brief post is simply to comment on the phenomenon who is about to become a household name. With the premiere of Graceland tonight, Aaron Tveit, who stars along with Daniel Sunjata, will finally have the opportunity to demonstrate his remarkable abilities as an actor to a global audience.

As invariably happens with this kind of breakthrough stardom, the actor has been engulfed in a publicity blitz in recent weeks, and while it is nice to see Tveit finally get the attention he deserves, it is also interesting to watch him show the audience other aspects of his personality.

Always serious, articulate, and charming in interviews, Tveit has acquitted himself admirably in the spate of recent articles splashed on the pages of likes of The New York Post, The Daily News, Interview Magazine.  These, as well as a batch of excellent reviews for his Radio in My Head concert debut at 54 Below – continue to reveal Tveit as a thoughtful, respectful, intelligent, witty artist and human being.

Navigating the waters of TV talk shows, however, offers a completely different challenge.  In recent weeks, Tveit has been seen Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, TWC’s On Stage Across America, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, and NBC’s The Today Show, as well as at a nationally televised Graceland Q&A session from New York’s Rockefeller Center.

Talk show television with its requisite sound bytes, in and of itself, requires a certain down-to-earth appeal and often a zaniness that seems to endear celebrities to the American public.  In each of these recent appearances Tveit has not only met expectations, but delivered something more.  Probably most at home in the Broadway community, Tveit evidenced perfect comedic timing and an engagingly boyish persona in his scripted presentation with Stephanie J. Block. In the Graceland Q&A he managed to keep the substance of his answers rooted in a discussion of the material and of the acting process. On the very brief Today Show clip, he and Sunjata proved themselves good sports in the silly game of demonstrating their pistol skills. And on the deliberately outrageous WWHL hosted by Andy Cohen, Tveit gave an unselfconscious glimpse of his sly, sometimes cheeky sense of humor.

Not only did Tveit project a likeable image at all of these events, but he also accomplished something more. Without completely abandoning the somewhat enigmatic quality that makes him fascinating on and off screen, without losing sight of his natural reserve or dignity, he has succeeded in sharing a few more facets of his kaleidoscopic talent.

 

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