Tony Time: Broadway’s Con-Man Who Got Conned

In a season on Broadway like no other seen in recent years, competition is at an all time high. While Broadway shows are really competing for nominations and awards, the purpose of the theatre awards season is to recognize those who have exceeded and raised the bar beyond all with their work and turned it into art. However this season, from the eligibility list to the nominations, it was basically impossible to guess who would be nominated and overall who will win certain awards. Everyone who is nominated this year is already a winner and more importantly a true artist and performer. However, there is always someone who is snubbed and robbed of a nomination or award they deserve. Luner on Theatre has decided to showcase aspects of the Awards Season you might not be used to. So first off is the Con-Man himself of Broadway who was conned out of a Tony Nomination; Aaron Tveit

While Aaron Tveit is only 27 years old, he is no stranger to Broadway. While you most likely know him as Gabe in the new musical Next to Normal, Aaron Tveit is no stranger to the theatre spotlight. He left Ithaca College after being cast as Steve in the nation tour of RENT. And why many questioned if that was the right decision, Aaron continued to prove he had made the right decision after being cast as Link Larkin in the first national tour of Hairspray. Make no mistake, Aaron Tveit may be a 27 year old young actor on Broadway, but he is a force to be reckoned with.

Aaron Tveit became a sensation when he came to Broadway as Gabe in Next to Normal. Between his stage presence, charisma and pure talent, there wasn’t much you couldn’t like about the kid! This season, Tveit has came to Broadway in the new, hot and sexy musical Catch Me If You Can in the main role of Frank Abagnale Jr.

Tveit first got involved with Catch Me If You Can back in private workshops of the production in July 2007. Tveit was called in along side many other notable actors to help the production advance to its Seattle debut. What he didn’t know at the time was is that he was about to score the leading role of Frank Abagnale Jr in the production. He would not only debut the part in Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre but he would travel with the production across the country (Very Abagnale of him) to New York City where the production would debut on Broadway in 2011. All seemed great as Catch Me If You Can received mostly positive reviews in Seattle. However, New York City is a totally different land.

Catch Me If You Can opened at The Neil Simon Theatre on April 10th, 2010 to a surprising round of mostly negative reviews. However, one can’t really be surprised considering the New York Theatre Critics Scene is all about tearing productions down to their meat and bones. The worst part about those reviews was most of them targeted Catch Me’s leading man, Aaron Tveit.

Played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, this time the role of Frank Abagnale Jr. has been handed over to Aaron Tveit. As pretty as a Ken doll and blessed with a wonderful voice, Tveit nevertheless struggles to convey genuineness”      – Mark Kennedy; Associated Press

The notion of Frank as a little boy lost limits the performance of Mr. Tveit, who was terrific as the mother-haunting son in “Next to Normal.” He has intense presence, for sure, and a bright, blasting voice. But his performance is ultimately one-note, all shine and no shadows” – Ben Brantley; New York Times

However, when I saw the production in one of the very first days of previews; Aaron Tveit shinned. Not only blowing the house away through charisma, charm and talent, Tveit in my mind has created the stance and example of being one of Broadway’s newest and youngest leading men. While it is difficult for anyone to play along side Broadway veteran Norbert Leo Butz, Tveit found himself in the show and figured out a way to not under shine, not over shine but shine along side one of the most leading Broadway veterans only proving the point more that he could work to such a caliber. To check out more of my thoughts on Aaron Tveit’s performance, Click here to view my Catch Me If You Can Review.

None the less come May 3rd, Aaron Tveit was robbed of a Tony Nomination for his leading role in Catch Me If You Can. And while co-leading man Norbert Leo Butz scored the nomination, some wondered why there was no mention of Tveit. Norbert Leo Butz does not in any way outshine Aaron Tveit considering how tightly they work together in the musical. Its like the gang from The Book of Mormon. And especially considering that both Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad, who are Book of Mormon’s leading men, scored nominations, many are wondering why Tveit was left in the dust.

I think one of the issue is the huge comparison. Lets set one thing straight people; Its a Broadway Musical! I refuse to get into this rant right now however considering an upcoming article later this week I’m sure you all will find VERY interesting to say the least. But Tveit’s comparison to Leonardo DiCaprio (who played Abagnale Jr in the movie) is not only unfair but completely out of line. Complain about the aspect of of Tveit’s acting not at the level of DiCaprio’s? Funny, because I don’t remember DiCaprio singing or dancing around the movie with ridiculous harmonies and first class choreography.

Also, I think a lot of people refuse to take Aaron Tveit seriously because of his age. While only 27, Aaron Tveit boosts one of the best voices for men currently on Broadway. Also, the idea of such a young man leading a show next to such an experienced actor (Norbert Leo Butz) has caused many to focus their eyes on what they have seen on Broadway as opposed to what they will see to come.

I can only imagine the pain for Tveit caused by the lack of a nomination. And while theatre isn’t about awards, it is about being recognized for outstanding work. He was brushed over once as Gabe in Next to Normal which was annoying enough but with the lack of a nomination for Catch Me, it is not only frustrating but ridiculous that New York critics and the Broadway theatre scene refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of this young man. And while it might seem easy for Tveit to slip away from New York at a later time for a good period of time, he won’t. And he won’t because that is not the type of person he is.

Tveit is golden in the aspect of being able to not only shine himself but being able to be a team player in every single aspect. When he was not nominated for Next to Normal, Tveit admitted being very upset but also stated he couldn’t be more happy the show was nominated for Best Musical. The cast was family that worked together to create that product that was now nominated for one of Broadway’s highest honors. And while I am sure Tveit is upset about the lack of a nomination for Catch Me (As he should be), he should be and most likely is more then proud of everyone in his cast who was nominated. His show yet again, Catch Me If You Can, has been nominated for Best Musical.

So was Broadway’s Con-Man Conned out of a Tony Nomination? Luner on Theatre is going to say YES! Tveit’s performance, while it might not deserve the final award, definitely at least deserved a nomination in one of the newest and truest Broadway musicals in years. But what do you think? Was Aaron Tveit conned out of a Tony Nomination? Tell us what you think about this young actor as he leaves his mark on Broadway. Luner on Theatre will continue to cover some fun topics you might not think of as the Tony Awards approach! Keep checking out Tony Time as our series continues leading up to the big day! For more information on Catch Me If You Can, check out Catch Me If You Can’s Official Broadway Website.

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