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Review: ANTHONY RAPP: LIVE IN CONCERT, St James Theatre

Anthony Rapp graces the intimately beautiful stage of the St James Theatre's studio for a series of live concerts. Last seen on the American tour of If/Then (music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Bryan Yorkley, and nominated for two Tony Awards), Rapp takes his rapt audiences on a journey made of songs dear to his heart, introducing them one by one with brief albeit always poignant stories.

Songs from his formative years are followed by works taken from his favourite musicals or from shows he's done in the past, never forgetting, of course, Rent - in his own words, the show that changed his life. (The 20th anniversary touring production plays at St James from tomorrow.)

The singer reminds his crowd multiple times what Jonathan Larson's masterpiece still means to him and constantly professes his gratitude and love for the show. The irony and grace of Rapp are evident as well as his strong vocal control and emotional delivery, and he's not afraid of self-irony nor to speak about his personal life, baring himself under the spotlight through his choice of songs.

Both Rent and his mother are strongly present throughout the whole evening, making the connection between the artist and the audience even deeper than the fairly small space already does. The St James is, in fact, dressed for the occasion with gold and blue lights, which make the empty frames that hang from the ceiling gleam in a sometimes eerie but welcoming glow.

The frames are a wonderful touch, as they reflect the heartfelt and meaningful cut of the set list, which goes from Green Day to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and from original pieces to the brilliant "Wait For It" from the sold-out phenomenon Hamilton.

Personal, ironic, and peppered with catchy tunes, Anthony Rapp: Live in Concert is an extraordinary opportunity to catch one of Broadway's most beloved artists in an intimate setting.

Anthony Rapp is live in concert for two weeks only until 17 December

Photo credit: St James Theatre www.stjamestheatre.co.uk


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Italian export. Member of the Critics' Circle (Drama). Also a script reader and huge supporter of new work. Twitter: @Cindy_Marcolina

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