The musical Rent started a whole new chapter in life for actor Anthony Rapp.
He left behind his days as a struggling actor and Starbucks barista and went on to originate the role of Mark Cohen in both the hit musical and the movie that followed.
But he also lost the most important person in his life, his mother and also Jonathan Larson, the writer behind Rent, a journey he told in his best-selling memoir Without You.
Without You is now a one-man show, in which Rapp shares his experiences as part of Rent, including his view from the stage during the tribute performance on the night after Larson’s sudden death.
"At the end of the night I feel like I've moved through it, and that it's been received and there's an energy coming back to me from the audience," Rapp said in an interview with CBC News.
"I mean it's part of what I talk about in the show and I really fundamentally believe that these experiences — yes they're painful and yes loss is hard —but it's also part of life and it's to be embraced." Rapp uses music from Larson and rock band R.E.M. to reflect on that period of grief and hope in his show, which is playing as part of the new off-Mirvish series. He is accompanied by a five-piece band.
The show, which sold out at the Edinburgh Festival this August and then went on to play London at the Menier Chocolate Factory, travels to New York after its Toronto run.
Rapp’s Without You plays at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto until Jan. 6, 2013.