Aaron Tveit is the kind of performer who really means what he sings
Aaron Tveit gets around like greased lightning.
The New York City-based actor and singer starred on Broadway in "Catch Me if You Can" and as FBI agent Mike Warren on USA Network's "Graceland." He played the charismatic Enjolras in the 2012 film adaptation of "Les Miserables" and Danny Zuko in 2016's "Grease: Live" musical on Fox. Or maybe you just know him as the handsome one's cousin on "Gossip Girl." And Tveit shows off more of his chops by performing concerts filled with show tunes and pop songs.
Q: How do you construct each concert and choose your setlists?
A: I have an amazing musical director named Brian Perry. He and I basically bounce ideas back and forth. There's a certain amount of wanting to perform the songs (audiences) expect me to perform from the shows I've been in. I try to do them in a different way or see if there's an interesting spin I can put on them. And then from there, basically, I see what other songs (I can do), either from (stage) shows or pop songs that I can sing in an interesting way. Then I look to see how it becomes a show. Because I don't like to necessarily just sing for the sake of singing - I like the entire setlist and evening to tell a story.
Q: Can you give an example of a song you put an interesting spin on?
A: The first concerts I ever did years ago, I ended up doing as an encore Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." I thought it was this crazy idea, and I didn't know if it was going to totally crash and burn, but it ended up being one of the most successful things of the evening. The audience just thought it was hilarious. Since then, I've been trying to think outside the box and find things like that to bring in to the setlist that may be totally unexpected.
Q: What's your go-to song that you really love to perform?
A: There's this song I performed last year ... - and it's still in the setlist this year, but in a bit of a different way - called "Fight the Dragons" from the musical "Big Fish." Brian and I just loved the tune of it and the message it's telling. It's about this dad who's living this fantastic life and explaining to his kid, "It looks like I'm doing all of these things, but they're all for you." I have a very close relationship with my dad, so it means a lot to me.
Q: You've done theater, network dramas, live TV musicals and Hollywood productions. How do you approach each?
A: From my standpoint, it all kind of comes from a very actor-y place. You look at the medium, how the story is going to be told, and gauge your performance based on that. Being onstage is a whole different beast. You have to hit the back of the house and, if you're in a big theater, the last row - there's a certain amount of energy you have to give to (theater). And being onstage is the hardest because you have to do it eight times a week and find a way to make it new every night. But also it's the most rewarding because you get an immediate response from the audience. I'm very lucky that I've gotten to do all these different things, so one doesn't get tiresome or stale.
Q: Do you have a medium preference?
A: Just from a logistical standpoint, you feel most like a real person on a television show because it's Monday through Friday. Even though the hours can be long and sometimes your Friday goes until three o'clock in the morning, you still get Saturday and Sunday off. And that's something that's so difficult about working onstage - when everybody else is off on Friday and Saturday, you're just going to work to do a bunch of shows. So it's hard socially, it's hard on your body. But there's nothing like being onstage, so it's a big trade-off all over.
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