Broadway heartthrob Aaron Tveit made his New York City cabaret debut in a sold-out limited engagement at 54 Below beginning May 3. After the pandemonium surrounding the rapid and rabid ticket sales, the much anticipated show was met with the expected reception of cheers and tears (on behalf of Beiber-esque fangirls).
Aaron Tveit first took to the Broadway stage as Link Larkin in Hairspray in 2006. He also played leading man Fiyero in Wicked and originated the role of Gabe in the award-winning musical Next to Normal. Tveit also created the Broadway role of Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can and portrayed Roger in both the national tour of Rent as well as the 2010 Hollywood Bowl production of that musical, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Most recently, Tveit was seen on the big screen as revolutionary leader Enjolras in the film adaptation of Les Misérables. His upcoming USA TV series, Graceland, premieres on June 6.
The audience at 54 Below was surprisingly subdued considering Tveit's usual excited following. Attendees at the performance I reviewed included Broadway notables Tom Kitt (Bring It On) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Bring It On) along with the dozens of teenage girls and their reluctant chaperones. The swanky, warmly lit cabaret space was the perfect locale for the dapper Tveit. The small stage was filled with what happened to be the original band from Next to Normal. Tveit worked the intimate space, addressing the entire room throughout.
He began the evening's performance with fan favorite "I'm Alive" from Next to Normal, which was met with thunderous applause and squeals of delight as well as sighs of regret that there were no poles from which he could to re-create his Next to Normal performance. Tveit told the story behind each piece, ranging from high school memories, to his college days, up to his recent work, with personal stories and shoutouts to friends and family.
Songs included classics "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, "If I Loved You" from Carousel, followed by contemporary showtunes "There's A World" from Next to Normal, "Goodbye" from Catch Me If You Can, a tearful rendition of "One Song Glory" from Rent, and a cut song from The Last Five Years: "I Could Be in Love with Someone Like You." Tveit also performed popular, swoon-worthy songs including Bruno Mars' hit "When I Was Your Man," "Hero and Leander," "My Romance," "I Remember You," Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love," Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman," Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," and Craig Carnelia's "What You'd Call a Dream" from the musical revue Diamonds.
For the fans who were not lucky enough to score tickets to this sold-out show, don't worry. You will be able to hear all of Tveit's belting, runs, riffs, and vocal embellishments thanks to Broadway Records. A live solo album, "The Radio In My Head: Live At 54 Below," will be released soon.
Aaron Tveit at 54 Below continues on Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18 at 11:00pm. For tickets and more information, click here.