Aaron Tveit had always wanted to sing a song from character who “struck a chord” with him, but unfortunately the part is written for a woman and Tveit will never get to play her professionally.
Enter Miscast, the annual gala for the off-Broadway MCC Theater, during which actors perform musical numbers they would never otherwise get to sing. Tveit sang Nancy’s big number from Oliver!, “As Long as He Needs Me” (see exclusive video below) and performed Maureen’s part in “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent, with Gavin Creel as Joanne (see that video at the bottom of the post).
“I never like to make it easy for myself,” Tveit tells Billboard with a laugh on the carpet before the show. But the part he’d really like to play is one he’s particularly close to. “When I was doing Next to Normal, I thought Alice [Ripley]’s part was really something. I think I’d like to try my hand at that.”
Other performers for the evening, which honored Marisa Tomei, included Tituss Burgess, who sang “You’re Nothing Without Me” from City of Angels with Tina Fey; Beth Behrs, who sang “Wig in a Box” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Cynthia Erivo, who sang “A Piece of Sky” from Yentl; and Ana Villafane and Shanice Williams, who sang “I’ll Cover You” from Rent.
MCC co-artistic director Bernard Telsey is also an established casting director and gave Tveit one of his first shots as an actor early in his career. “I would do anything for Bernie,” Tveit said of coming back to perform after achieving mainstream success in projects like Grease Live! and USA’s Graceland. “After I did a year on the Rent tour, somebody walked my headshot into them. I had gone back to school and they called me in for just a general audition and a week later he cast me in Hairspray. It went so fast.”
Now the Broadway vet is gearing up for his new TV show BrainDead, which will premiere on CBS this summer. Tveit plays the chief of staff for a Republican senator opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays a new Hill staffer. The two initially hate each other but bond over the shared knowledge that aliens have come to Earth and eaten congressmen’s brains, forcing the government to shut down.
“It’s very timely,” Tveit said of shooting a show during an election season. The series even mentions some of the real-life presidential hopefuls. “The scripts have annotations,” Tveit explained. “They’ll have a line that mentions one of the candidates then it says ‘or such and such, or such and such,’ depending on who’s in the race in the summer. They keep it very current.”