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Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  4,478 Ratings  ·  391 Reviews
Anthony Rapp had a special feeling about Jonathan Larson's rock musical Rent as early as his first audition, which won him a starring role as the video artist Mark Cohen. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent opened to thunderous acclaim off-Broadway -- but even as friends and family were celebrating the show's first success, they were also mourning Jonathan Larson's sudden deat ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Simon & Schuster
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Cross-posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw Reviews

I’ve wanted to read this for a while, but not before seeing at least the movie version of Rent. Off to the library I went and borrowed a copy of both film and book. I’m certain I would have appreciated this story, loosely based on Puccini's La Bohème, a lot more in its original version as a play, and had I been about 30 years younger. Back then I probably would have been able to empathize with a cast of talentless characters who wanted to succ
Very good. I was inspired to read it because I'm going to see Rent this weekend, starring original Broadway (and movie) cast members Rapp and Adam Pascal. Rapp was very open and honest in this book, sharing primarily his memories of his journey as one of the original members of the Rent cast, through Jonathan Larson's death and opening on Broadway, and most of all through his mother's life and death. Having lost my mother to cancer as well, I really identified with a lot of what he went through. ...more
Overshare? Why, yes I will, thank you. For a condensed review: This is a great memoir, not just about Rent, but about grief and love and honesty. For way more information about most-likely-irrelevant-to-you connections I made to my own experience, read here...(view spoiler) ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2013 Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, memoir, non-fiction
Anyone who follows my Twitter account knows this book absolutely devastated me. I read it on two legs of a cross-country flight and the people around me were absolutely giving me concerned looks as I teared up and sniffled and once even stopped reading, set the book down and closed my eyes to take deep breaths. It hit home.

So much of Anthony Rapp's life parallels my own. Not perfectly, of course -- I'm not claiming to be the man's twin. There are some obvious differences -- the successful theate
Nov 02, 2009 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met Anthony at summer camp and we only really chatted once. Even then, I think everyone recognized his incredible talent and so he had a reputation of being one of the kids who was going to make it really big. I also remember both the guys he talked about in the book - Ben was so funny and I remember him always cracking us up. He was always on the edge and even then I worried for him because despite being totally hilarious, he seemed, well... too close to the edge. It was so sad to hear the st ...more
Sarah Arant
Aug 20, 2009 Sarah Arant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My advice to Anthony Rapp would be to stick to acting and not writing. Either that, or don't be ambiguous about the contents of what he is writing.
This book should not have included "and the Musical Rent" in the title, because I honestly felt that he touched very little on the subject. I was under the impression upon going into this book that it would have been more focused on his time working with the show, especially since he was there since the start, and his experience through it all and NO
Let me preface this review by saying that I absolutely love the musical Rent...and I've loved it for a long time. In fact, although I'm certainly not as hardcore as some Rentheads, I've even seen the musical three times.

That being said, I found the actual writing of this memoir almost painful to digest...perhaps for the simple fact that Anthony Rapp is an actor, and a very talented one at that. But he's not a writer. And while I found his stories about how he became involved in Rent, his strugg
Aug 16, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing
The American Broadway Musical. In my opinion, it is THE only true art form. If anyone can attest to the veracity of that statement it would have to be me. I have seen more musicals in my life than most people I know, and more Original Casts on Broadway than I'd care to remember! But in all the thousands of hours I've spent in theatres in my life no other musical has had the power to touch me so profoundly as seeing the entire Original Broadway Cast of Rent in the summer of 1996, both in June and ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan Brown
Jan 18, 2017 Jordan Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering how obsessed I was with Rent as a teenager, I can't believe I had never read this before. I can honestly say I was not prepared for how heartbreaking this book is. The success of Rent exploded for Anthony Rapp in the wake of the loss of it's creator Jonathan Larson and the drawn out death of his mother. His grief his palpable on the pages. He uses the music of the show to help convey those feelings throughout the book and it honestly wrecked my emotions. Worth a read for fans of the ...more
Feb 18, 2017 Rachel rated it really liked it
This was raw and visceral and felt jarringly honest. Rapp discusses grief in such a compelling manner, and while the narrative begins and ends with Rent, this memoir is so much more personal than I expected (in a great way).
Sep 01, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Grade = 85% - B

In the last year or so, I have collected a series of autobiographies by (fairly) young entertainers: two by Rob Lowe, and one each by Michael J. Fox, Tina Fey, John Barrowman, and Anthony Rapp (all, of course, from thrift stores).

I donated the first four to my local library, but felt a connection to the other two, so I read them. Not only did I see John Barrowman perform on stage, but I watched him carry on at a Soho pub. I am also a great fan of him in Doctor Who, Torchwood, a
Feb 04, 2009 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-bio-abio
I love Rent and I love Anthony Rapp. I just saw the show for the umpteenth time because he toured with Adam Pascal. I first saw the show in NYC, but the originals were already gone (1998). What a duo. I wish the entire original cast would regroup for a tour...I would pay big bucks to see them all, especially Idina, Adam, Mark, Jesse, and Taye.

I enjoyed the insight into Rapp's life, but mostly enjoyed the morsels about the start of Rent and the evolution of the show. I think only true fans of Re
Mar 07, 2010 Nique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I'm a total "RENThead" and this book has been on my list for YEARS but I finally decided to give it a go. I'm really glad I chose the audio version, because listening to Anthony Rapp tell his own story was fantastic! It was fun listening to his take on the audition and workshop processes for "RENT". What really hit home for me was his struggle to deal with his mother's illness. It's a real parallel of how I'm dealing with my mom's. People always tell the stories of the strong journeys, but don't ...more
Sep 09, 2008 Meg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Rapp, may be a good actor, but he is a horrible writer. Wow. I only stuck with it, because I have this sick habit of finishing books that I have started. Sigh. I do want to resee the movie----or the show if it was not done.
Jul 30, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tv
This book has been bouncing around in my head and I am sure it's on a list of mine somewhere and I don't know what prompted me to finally request it now. Oh well. This is another autobio from the original actor to play Mark in the musical RENT. I quit enjoyed the musical. I saw it in LA when NPH played Mark. Everyone my age in LA remembers that. I never saw it on Broadway. I was sad when I was overseas and saw it was closing because seeing the original cast preform it was sort of on my bucket li ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book back in 2009 when I had the honor of meeting Anthony Rapp after a performance of Rent. Seven years later, I grabbed it off my shelf and finally sat down to read it while on vacation. This story renewed my love of Rent. I laughed, I cried, my heart broke and was repaired all in the course of one book. A must read for any Rent head... or just any lover of theatre in general.
May 04, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of both RENT and Anthony Rapp, so I was ecstatic to finally read this book. It did not disappoint. I've read it twice and a refuse to get rid of it because I know I'll read it again. For anyone that has ever dealt with terminal illness, loss, guilt, love, passion, hate, this is a must read. Not for RENT-heads alone, this book will speak to everyone.
Every performer should read this book, every gay man should read this book, every person whose ever suffered a loss in the family should READ THIS BOOK! It is so much more than a book for Rent heads, it is a book for the passionate.
Jan 03, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rent is by far my favorite Broadway show, probably will be ever, and this memoir was a really easy read and a good reminder of why Jonathon Larson's death was such a loss to us fans. And why I adore Anthony Rapp so much.
Nov 30, 2016 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful memoir of the making of Rent as well as a devastating account of the authors loss of his mother to cancer around the same time.
Sep 19, 2007 Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, read_2007, nyc, lgbt
I am listening to this book.
Anthony Rapp is famous for having originated and played the role of Mark in Jonathan Larson’s “Rent”, even though he’s been acting since he was nine. His treading of the boards of most of his other performances are glossed over; the main focus is on the rock opera that propelled him and the late Larson to international fame.

Mr. Rapp’s writing is incisive and at times brutal. His revelations of the anxiety, grief, heartache and personal triumphs and failures in dealing with his mother’s progressi
Jan 17, 2017 Allyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect this book to be as good as it was. Lots of flap talk about how it is "raw" and touching--it was. I respected the voice of the counselor and her advice so much--the only way out is through. Quick read. I cried a lot--more than I expected to.

This is NOT a tell-all about Rent. Rapp writes about Rent because he played Mark for so long and it was a large part of his life. But readers shouldn't look to Without You for behind-the-scenes gossip about the musical. The only exception is a
Alyssa Lentz
Jan 27, 2017 Alyssa Lentz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I often set a lower bar for celebrity memoirs, but I was often surprised at how moving and honest this one was. It definitely exceeded my expectations. I think I went into it expecting it to be a little more about Rent than it was, but there's definitely still plenty of stories and anecdotes about it to keep fans satisfied. I'd be so interested to see how this was adapted into the stage production!
Jan 20, 2017 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm an-obsessed Rent-head! I loved it. I never knew about his mother, or obviously his personal relationships with men. I have been listening to his music(Rent(, a lot while listening to this book on CD. I'd love to see the Broadway production again, but with all the original cast members.
Tiger Gray
Aug 25, 2015 Tiger Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So if you go in to this hoping for funny behind the scenes vignettes from working on RENT for so long, this will disappoint you. This is much more a memoir and less a light hearted tell all.

Some things you should know before reading this: 1) this review is deeply personal so if you could avoid flaming or trolling it, it would be even more appreciated than usual, and 2) I am a massive RENThead and have been since I was fourteen so I might be a teensy bit biased. That said I am giving it four sta
Nov 08, 2013 Samanthadorcean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent, Broadway star Anthony Rapp shares the story of his life pre, post, and behind the scenes of the classic rock opera Rent. Beginning as a 20 something struggling actor in New York City, Rapp was working as a barista at Starbucks patiently waiting for his Broadway big break. Starring in Adventures in Babysitting as a teen, he had a taste of fame which made him want it even more. It took a few years before his performance of REM’s “Losing ...more
Ellen Cohen
Mar 20, 2013 Ellen Cohen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it's best to preface this by saying that I have had in the past year the pleasure, privilege and honor of getting to know the author of this book. Anthony, aside from being an actor of immense talent and accomplishment, is eloquent, intelligent and has a heart of gold. I speak so highly of his personality in this review only to go on and say that it shows in the heartfelt nature of his memoir.

The book reads incredibly quickly; it's just that good. The raw emotion keeps coming and coming,
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Anthony (Deane) Rapp is an American stage and film actor and singer.

Rapp first performed on Broadway in 1981 in the flop The Little Prince and the Aviator, a musical based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novel The Little Prince. The show closed during previews. He also appeared in the 1987 movie Adventures in Babysitting, which was directed by Chris Columbus. Columbus would later direct Rapp in the
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“Grief does not expire like a candle or the beacon on a lighthouse. It simply changes temperature.” 51 likes
“On the flight over to Chicago, I thought of a story Mom had once told me from her days as a pediatric nurse.

"There was this little boy I was taking care of," she said "and he was terminally ill,and we all knew it,but he kept hanging on and hanging on. He wouldn't die, it was so sad.
And his parents were always there with him,giving him so much love and support,but he was in so much pain,and it really was,time for him to go.
So finally some of us nurses took his father aside and we told him, 'You have to tell your son it's okay for him to go. You have to give him permission.' And so the father took his son in his arms and he sat with him in a chair and held on to him and told him over and over, that it was okay for him to go,and,well,after a few moments,his son died.”
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