Aaron Tveit Walks Us Through His Career Milestones
"People really had very, very big opinions about Tripp [Vaderbilt], and they don't mind letting you know about it."
Aaron Tveit, probably most well-known for his killer Broadway resume, is currently starring in the hit USA TV show Graceland. The triple threat stopped by BuzzFeed New York to talk about his current role, how fans react to his Gossip Girl stint, and what he loves about all his Broadway shows. Take a look at Aaron Tveit's career milestones, and what he remembers about them!
Aaron Tveit: My curly wig. Everyone always asks me if that's my hair! I want to say that it is, but it's really not. But I got to wear that beautiful, curly wig every day.
What did you love the most about working on that set?
AT: I think the best thing about that was just being a part of that whole group of people. All these people from all these different walks of life in the entertainment industry — these big movie stars to West End performers — who kind of just came together because they loved the story and loved being a part of it. They left everything aside and tried to tell the story in the best way; it was really remarkable.
AT: It was a blast! At the time, I was also doing Next to Normal on Broadway while shooting a lot of Gossip Girl. So I was starring on a Broadway show, and on TV, in New York, a TV show that was about New York, that was starring these awesome young people who I became really good friends with, and they really embraced me and welcomed me. It was just a fun thing to be a part of.
Does anyone ever go up to you like, "XOXO!"
AT: Constantly. Tripp Vanderbilt — people really had very, very big opinions about Tripp, and they don't mind letting you know about it. (laughs)
AT: The word that really comes to mind is "us." It's such a collective experience between myself and my cast, and our creators and our showrunners, and our crew — we just really love each other and have so much fun. We all live in Florida to shoot the show, so I think that creates a sense of our own little community because we're all transplanted. So when I think about Graceland, I really think about the entire group of cast and crew.
Do you guys do fun stuff after filming?
AT: Yeah, it's interesting because we all kind of live there in a place where we don't live. We all do our own thing, but then we all feel the itch of loneliness at the same time and we'll all text each other like, "Hey, want to go get dinner this weekend?" So we all feel this at similar times.
Do you have any crazy Florida stories?
AT: You take your life in your own hands driving down the street every day. Having to drive I-95 every day in Florida is like, the most dangerous experience.
AT: I'm anticipating madness, in the best way. I just think that putting that show on live television with the people that are involved and the cast they've got, the energy is going to be created to kind of... because I think Grease, the movie especially, is the kind of show that creates energy, this inner youth energy, and putting that live on TV is going to be nerve-wracking! I think it's going to be such an exciting thing to be a part of.
Do you think it will be super different from performing live on a Broadway show?
AT: Yes and no. I think in a way, much like Les Mis, kind of taking that being onstage, and when you're onstage you have to hit at the back of the house, but then when you have a camera right in front of you, you have to find a way to blend the two and trust that that will come through in the camera.
That must be so hard to take the live aspect of theater but take out the bigness of it.
AT: Yeah, it's different because you want to fall into this lack of energy, but you have to keep the same energy to make it for this little tiny close-up. It's a tricky thing, but hey, that's why we have eight weeks of rehearsal to try and figure it out!
Next to Normal
AT: Family. The show is about this broken, fractured, and then coming-together family. It created this family within us, within the cast, within the writers, within the producers and the director — everyone involved. From the get, we knew it was something so special. We were off-Broadway, and there were some issues with the show, but everyone stuck with it. Then we went out of town, and I'll never forget, that it was what it became, and it was finally the show that we knew it could be. It just created this bond of a real family with everyone that was involved. It was amazing.
AT: Bad boy Fiyero. I just had so much fun playing that part because he was such an asshole. The more of an asshole I could be at the beginning of the show, the better the payoff. The first entrance I have in the show is sleeping on this cart, driven by this guy who bumps into Elphaba, and I would just make fun of her. It was just so much fun.
Did people stop you on the streets about Wicked?
AT: Wicked, not as much.
I can just imagine someone screaming, "Fiyerrrrrrrooooooo!"
AT: No, no, no — no Fiyero screams! (laughs) But that, and those white pants. It's a classic, those white pants. Which actually, my buddy Norbert [Leo Butz] and I, we had a white-pants-off that we sang together. Check that video out online, it's fun.
AT: (laughs) Shameless plug.
Catch Me If You Can
AT: Oh, man. I don't know if there's a word that can describe that. No words, there you go, that's two. In a similar but different way from Next to Normal, the root that show took, and how long I was involved from the first time I sang for it, and everything we all went through at the time, and it didn't come through right away. The fact that it was a bit short-lived, it only ran for six months, but I felt it could have ran for years; it was just a full gamut of emotions wrapped in this dream Broadway role. There aren't roles like that for young men in Broadway. The fact that I got to play it, I'm still so grateful for it. I love it, I love all the people involved, and I cherish my time and experience with it.
AT: I was a little, little kid when I did Hairspray. I was a little kid! This was 10 years ago, actually right about now, that I went to do Hairspray. I just all of a sudden found myself in this high-energy show with all these other great, young performers, and I made some lifelong friends. It was my Broadway debut, so it was really cool.
Did you learn a lot from doing that show?
AT: Yeah, that and the Rent tour I did. Kind of just all of a sudden being in a show, and doing it eight times a week for a year, it's like dropping a little kid who can't swim in the deep end and just going, "All right, figure it out."
Law & Order
AT: Truth. They really, especially with their campaigns now against sexual violence, stand for truth. A lot of the episodes are art imitating life, but they tell the stories in a really good way and I think they bring these things to the forefront in a great way.
AT: America! She was the coolest, most gracious, welcoming star in that show. I did one episode, and that one episode I did has translated and people mention it to me, and as something that was kind of a one-off, she was really a great person to watch and she was so kind to me.
The Good Wife
AT: Pros. Same thing with Law & Order and Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty, getting to guest star on these shows shot in New York was such a great learning experience. But I have to say, being on The Good Wife set and watching Julianna Margulies and Christine Baranski work as leads of that show, and watching their process on set, to look over and seeing them with their script completely marked and looking a mess, it just struck me of how serious and how professional they were and that set was.
AT: Ghost Town was my first role! That was the first thing I ever did on camera. The thing that sticks in my head is watching Ricky Gervais and the crew guys, it was shot in a hospital and I played an anesthesiologist, wasted an hour on set wheelchair-racing down the hospital. I was like, "This is really not an efficient use of time." But it was a lot of fun, and to watch he and Kristen Wiig, take after take after take after take, coming up with the craziest ad libs and the most hilarious things and trying to make each other laugh, it was such a fun, joyous time. I just laughed all day. They somehow got a take where I wasn't laughing.