Broadway and television actor to headline at The Paramount
Aaron Tveit captured hearts as Gabe in Next to Normal, Frank Abagnale Jr. in the stage version of Catch Me If You Can and most recently as Danny Zuko in Grease Live! on Fox. Next, fans can catch him at The Paramount in Huntington and at a string of concerts around the country over the next few months.
“This one is my pop rock show,” Tveit said. “It is similar to a show I did at Irving Plaza last year, but it’s undergone some changes.”
Tveit explained that even those who have been to previous shows will enjoy some new additions, and those who haven’t seen it will be in for a fun evening. The Feb. 25 concert will be full of popular rock covers with some Broadway music mixed in.
“People know me from theater. They wanted to hear some theater, so I’ve been trying to listen and mix in some theater stuff that fits,” said Tveit.
He wants only to give the people what they want. And he promises a few surprises.
“Anyone familiar with these shows knows that I look for very ridiculous fun things to do,” Tveit said, “so I’m trying to keep that trend continuing.”
Tveit, who grew up in Middletown, NY, and attended Ithaca College, has actually been to The Paramount before. Several years ago, a buddy from college played a show there. “I remember it being a really cool venue,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Huntington is his first stop in a string of gigs nationwide. Though he doesn’t consider himself a touring artist, Tveit has concerts booked in Providence, Philadelphia, Florida and the West Coast. “The next two months, we are kind of taking this one on the road a bit, so I’m very excited,” he said.
In addition to his career, music is a big part of Tveit’s life. “I grew up listening to a lot of rap and hip-hop and still listen to that a lot,” he said. “I like a lot of singer-songwriters. I’m very big into Bon Iver, Radiohead, the music that circles around that.”
Tveit is also a self-professed fan of country music and is well-versed in theater music. “Depending on my mood, it really swings quite a wide net of what I listen to,” Tveit said.
The actor has been known in the Broadway community for years. He gained much notice for his role in Next To Normal, the beloved Tony award-winning rock musical. “We all started on this very tiny show that we all truly believed in and had no idea if people were going to get it or accept it,” Tveit said. “Then to see the path it went on was such a rewarding experience.”
In 2011, Tveit starred in Catch Me If You Can, adeptly filling the role Leonardo DiCaprio played in the film version. “That was the first show where I was really up front and center on stage for three hours,” he recalled. “I learned so much from both of those experiences about what it takes to start from the ground up and commit yourself.”
Tveit is perhaps best known for starring in Grease Live!, the ambitious televised staging of the popular musical. “We were very lucky to have Tommy Kail, our director, at the helm,” he said. “He told us the first day that January 31st, we’re going to have a party and everyone’s invited. The more fun we have, the more fun the audience at home will have.”
The production went off without a hitch and Tveit counts it as one of the most fun things he’s ever gotten to do. “I mean, that was 350 people working at the top of their game, all at the same time,” Tveit said. “That’s a very rare thing. It was a tremendous experience.”
Tveit has been enjoying the ever-evolving direction of his career. Grease Live! and Les Misérables, the 2012 film adaptation in which he played Enjolras, leader of the student revolutionary group, successfully combined his stage work, television chops and musical talent.
He’s thrilled that live TV musicals are taking on a new life this century. “I definitely would [do it again]. I would welcome that chance, but it would have to be the right thing,” Tveit said. “The other side of it is it’s a very hard thing to do, and the experience I had was so great, it would be hard to [top].”
Tveit has faced some disappointment in recent years with the cancellation of Graceland (USA Network) in 2015 and, more recently, BrainDead (CBS). The actor has only affectionate things to say about Graceland, on which he played an undercover FBI special agent.
“We all loved that show,” he said. “We were all so close and all devastated when it got canceled.”
In a world where Twin Peaks and Gilmore Girls can get a second life, there is always hope for Graceland, but Tveit sadly does not expect the show to be revived, due simply to logistics.
“Once something like that happens, everyone is not under contract anymore and goes off to do different stuff,” Tveit said. “The amazing thing about Graceland is that the incredible cast and crew immediately went to work on other things. It’s really hard logistically to get everybody back together.”
He takes these road bumps in stride and with a dose of optimism. “Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, and you kind of have to think it’s not the last thing that’s going to end,” Tveit said. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the long days and tough schedule of television and [focus] on how hard it is, but instead, you try to realize it’s so fleeting and it can all end in a second.”
He continued, “Just try to enjoy every day. Then when it does finish, you don’t have any regrets.”
What’s next for Tveit is currently up in the air.
In the spring, Tveit hopes to partner up with The First Tee, a youth outreach program that uses golf to connect to underprivileged children. As a golfer, he believes that the ideals of golf reflect life and would like to lend a hand helping kids build character, make healthy choices and promote values applicable in their lives.
In the meantime, he’s reading scripts and seeing where the wind takes him.
“This is going to sound corny, but I hope the next 10 years are the same as the last,” Tveit said. “I’ve gotten to walk back and forth through these different mediums. I have the best job in the world. It’s different all the time…and I just hope that continues for the rest of my career. It sounds lame, but I really mean it.”