Title: Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent
Author: Anthony Rapp
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Publication: November 1st, 2006
Read: January 2021
Length: 9 hours & 28 minutes
Rating: 4 1/2 Caffeinated Stars
Trigger Warnings: Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Homophobia, Cheating, Death
Anthony Rapp captures the passion and grit unique to the theatre world as he recounts his life-changing experience in the original cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent.
Anthony had a special feeling about Jonathan Larson’s rock musical from his first audition, so he was thrilled when he landed a starring role as the filmmaker Mark Cohen. With his mom’s cancer in remission and a reason to quit his newly acquired job at Starbucks, his life was looking up.
When Rent opened to thunderous acclaim off Broadway, Rapp and his fellow cast members knew that something truly extraordinary had taken shape. But even as friends and family were celebrating the show’s success, they were also mourning Jonathan Larson’s sudden death from an aortic aneurysm. By the time Rent made its triumphant jump to Broadway, Larson had posthumously won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. When Anthony’s mom began to lose her battle with cancer, he struggled to balance the demands of life in the theatre with his responsibility to his family. Here, Anthony recounts the show’s magnificent success and his overwhelming loss. He also shares his first experiences discovering his sexuality, the tension it created with his mother, and his struggle into adulthood to gain her acceptance.
Variously marked by fledgling love and devastating loss, piercing frustration and powerful enlightenment, Without You charts the course of Rapp’s exhilarating journey with the cast and crew of Rent as well as the intimacies of his personal life behind the curtain.
Though I do miss the romance package from Audible, I have found some good books through Audible Plus. I was utterly ecstatic that Without You by Anthony Rapp was included in the plus catalog. I’ve loved RENT for years and even saw the play at the Nederlander Theater and at the Buell Theater (with Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal). I’ve always wanted to learn more about RENT’s creation, and I love Anthony Rapp, so it was a no-brainer to read the audiobook that the actor narrated.
Without You was beautifully written. The emotions were raw and heartfelt throughout the entire book. Anthony Rapp did not hold back when writing and reading this book. He was brutally honest with his story and evoked so much emotion that I full-on sobbed at times.
The story of Anthony’s time in RENT and the loss of his mother was incredibly impactful. This book is not just about RENT but about Anthony’s struggles with grief and loss. It was inspiring to see him come into himself and grow as a person. Witnessing the battle Anthony had from the losses he experienced was a bit cathartic. I lost two significant family members last year, so reading about the author’s grief helped.
I highly recommend this to anyone who loves the play & anyone who wants to read about Anthony’s life. This book was raw, emotional, and beautifully written.
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