“Rent” star to give speech, sign books

Alison Adams

Anthony Rapp will give a speech followed by a book signing Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Kiva.

This semester’s Guest of Honor University Artist/Lecture Series features an actor whose credentials include acting on Broadway, television and film and writing a best-selling novel about his experiences in the industry.

Anthony Rapp will speak at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Kiva, followed by a reception and book signing in room 204 of the Student Center.

He took the musical “Rent” from off-Broadway to Broadway and then to the big screen with the major motion picture adaptation.

Deborah Craig, the honors coordinator in charge of the Artist/Lecture Series, chooses who comes to perform each semester.

“I think of an idea for the year and talk to my speakers’ bureaus and they recommend speakers in my price range,” Craig said. “This year I wanted to go with broadly defined entertainers.”

Rapp’s film appearances include “Dazed and Confused,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “Road Trip” while his appearances on television include “The X-Files” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Although he is most famous for his roles as an actor, Rapp has another reason for lecturing at Kent. “Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent” is Rapp’s 2006 nationally best-selling novel.

The book focuses on his experiences during “Rent’s” original run, as well as his struggle with losing his mother to cancer.

Josh Maker, a junior tourism management major, said he’s excited to attend the lecture and book signing, but wishes he had read Rapp’s book before the event.

“I want to see him lecture because I am a big fan and I know he has some outstanding achievements,” Maker said. “It will be interesting to hear him speak.”

Craig said she insists on bringing lecturers who have a closer connection to students.

At first she hadn’t heard of Rapp, but when she researched him she was impressed and thought he would be able to show students a different side of actors.

“We see actors as one-dimensional; by having someone come out and talk about their lives, it presents a multifaceted view of someone,” Craig said.

“A richness there, you would feel a real connection.”

Maker said students interested in acting will gain a lot from seeing Rapp.

“I myself am a performer and I think that his accomplishments are something to admire,” Maker said.

Rapp will not only be lecturing on his book, he is guaranteed to sing as well.

Tom Parsons, general manager of the University Bookstore, said that the many book events that take place throughout the year give students the opportunity to ask lecturers anything they want.

“They get face-to-face time to ask any questions they have,” Parsons said. “It’s usually something they personally identify with.”

The lecture and book signing are free and open to the general public.

“I invite everyone to come; they will really enjoy it,” Craig said. “Students will be enriched.”

Contact Alison Adams at [email protected].