Billboard on Broadway Podcast: Aaron Tveit on Singing Sondheim (and Taylor Swift)

Maarten de Boer/Getty Images Portraits
Aaron Tveit

It's tough to find a musical theater lover that doesn't have a crush on Aaron Tveit. The charming young actor made a mark on Broadway as a very vivid ghost in 2009's Next to Normal and quickly shot to stardom, headlining 2011's Catch Me If You Can and crossing over to television (Graceland, BrainDead, Fox's recent Grease: Live) and film work (Les Misérables).

Now starring as Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company at Barrington Stage Company -- a pivotal career role -- Tveit called in to the Billboard on Broadway podcast to reflect on his career thus far, including his now uber-popular concerts centered around pop and rock covers.

As Tveit discusses, he started out as a classically trained singer before booking a national tour of Rent and switching gears vocally. The musicals he's starred in since have mostly placed him in the room with living composers. 

"I absolutely love Rodgers & Hammerstein, these shows in the canon of musical theater," he says. "The nice thing about working with composers who are around is that you get to have your own influence. As a new musical is being shaped, the songs are being written and changed to fit your voice." That voice, Tveit reveals, is one that early teachers who "knew very much that I had a pop sensibility" encouraged in its unique sound. 

Tveit goes on to tell the story of how his concert sets evolved, including performing a successful rock set at Darren Criss' Elsie Fest. On his now-famous cover of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Getting Back Together," he reveals, "I felt like my set needed a moment like that, something fun. We tried it and it ended up kind of being the biggest success of the evening. Going forward in the rest of the concerts I've done, I try to find moments like that. I try not to take myself too seriously." He now covers everything from Radiohead to Adele in his shows. 

In his chat with host Rebecca Milzoff, Tveit delves into the challenges of singing Sondheim, his experience playing Danny Zuko (and performing opposite Julianne Hough) in Grease: Live!and how he balances a career bridging the screen and stage.