Anthony Deane Rapp is an American actor and singer who originated the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent. Following his original performance of the role in 1996, Rapp reprised it in the film version of the show and then the show's United States Tour in 2009. He also performed the role of Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and originated the role of Lucas in the musical If/Then in 2014. He currently plays Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets on the television series Star Trek: Discovery.
Rapp was born on October 26, 1971, in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in nearby Joliet, Illinois, to Mary Lee (née Baird) and Douglas Rapp. After his parents' divorce in 1974, he was raised by his mother, a trained nurse. His older brother is playwright, novelist, and filmmaker Adam Rapp. He also has an older sister.
Rapp participated in community theater as a child and won awards for his singing in junior high school. Rapp attended high school at Joliet West High School and theatre camp at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. He moved to New York in 1989 to attend New York University as a film student, but dropped out after a semester. Rapp has been a friend of comic Andy Dick since childhood.
Rapp first performed on Broadway in 1981 in The Little Prince and the Aviator, a musical based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novel The Little Prince. The show closed during previews. His screen debut was as a member of the starring ensemble in the 1987 film Adventures in Babysitting, directed by Chris Columbus, who would later direct him in the film version of Rent. He has appeared in several movies and Broadway shows. His notable roles include those in such films as Dazed and Confused, A Beautiful Mind, School Ties, Road Trip, Six Degrees of Separation (stage and film versions), An American Family, Danny Roane: First Time Director, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Rapp went on to play the character of Mark Cohen in the off-Broadway and original Broadway casts of Jonathan Larson's musical Rent. For his audition, Rapp sang R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion", and received his callback in September 1994. After offering him the role, Jonathan Larson wrote new songs for the production with Rapp's voice in mind. He reprised that role in the film adaptation, which was released on November 23, 2005. He returned to Rent on July 30, 2007, for a six-week run, along with original cast member Adam Pascal. The two continued in their return to Rent through October 7, 2007. Rapp and Pascal, along with fellow original cast member Gwen Stewart, reprised their roles of Mark and Roger in a national tour of Rent beginning January 6, 2009.
In 2000, Rapp released a solo CD, entitled Look Around. In 2006, he published a memoir about Rent and his relationship with his mother, Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent. The manuscript took him six years to finish because of how personal it was. Rapp developed a one-man stage show with music based on the memoir beginning in 2007, later performing it at such locations as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A recording of the show was released on December 11, 2012, by PS Classics.
In 2005, Rapp played the doctor in the world premiere of Feeling Electric (later to become the Broadway musical Next to Normal) at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. During Next to Normal's Off-Broadway run (2008), he worked as assistant director to Michael Greif, who had directed him in Rent, and later wrote the introduction to the published script.
Rapp played the role of Lucas in If/Then, which starred fellow Rent alum Idina Menzel. If/Then played the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., and began previews on Broadway on March 5, 2014, and opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater on March 30, 2014. In July, Rapp had to miss performances due to a knee injury and surgery. It closed on March 22, 2015. Rapp reprised the role in the 2015-2016 National Tour, along with Menzel and the rest of the main Broadway cast.
Rapp also appeared in "Psych: The Musical", an episode of the TV series Psych, which premiered on USA Network on December 15, 2013. In 2016, Rapp was cast in Star Trek: Discovery as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, the first openly gay character in the Star Trek television series. This was Rapp's first television regular role; while he had watched some Star Trek as a child, he watched "curated lists" of episodes from the multiple series to prepare for the role.