Joliet native Anthony Rapp comes home to perform in 'If/Then'

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Anthony Rapp is a Broadway standout best known for his role in "Rent." He first fell in love with the stage as a kid in Joliet. (WLS)

Anthony Rapp is a Broadway standout best known for his role in "Rent." He first fell in love with the stage as a kid in Joliet.

It's back home for Anthony Rapp and on the road with another role he originated. This time it's not "Rent" but "If/Then." It's the story of a recently divorced woman whose life shifts when she moves to New York. Rapp plays close friend Lucas, a role written for him.

"That's the funny thing about roles that are created for you, they have a sense of what I do well I guess or what my strengths are, what colors I bring out. The songs that I sing they have my voice in mind, sensibilities in mind. It's really a gift," Rapp said.

Rapp grew up with a single mom in Joliet, Illinois. A childhood trip to see "The Sound of Music" at the Arie Crown Theatre sparked his desire to perform.

"The ushers were concerned, I was very young - 4 or 5 or 6, something like that - and they were like, 'Is he gonna behave?' They were worried and I sat completely enraptured by it," he said.

Although his acting credits are extensive, Rapp will always be proud of his work on the 1996 rock musical "Rent." Twenty years later, that smash cultural sensation is not unlike another current Broadway phenomenon.

"I feel like I'm getting to experience the other side of it as a fan of "Hamilton", I was inside the phenomenon of "Rent", I mean it was thrilling, it was incredible but it was also really intense hard work. With Hamilton, it's pure celebration. It's just too bad it's so hard to get a ticket because everybody who's alive should be able to see that show," Rapp said.

Rapp is onstage with "If/Then" at the Oriental Theatre now through March 6. Ironically, it is at this theater in 2009 that he last performed "Rent" in Chicago.
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entertainmententertainmentbroadwaytheatermusicalChicago - Downtown
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