Aaron Tveit Talks Tackling Sondheim's 'Company' in the Berkshires
The actor chats about his stint in the Berkshires and why he has 'Game of Thrones' decor on his mirror.
Aaron Tveit has spent the final weeks of summer in Massachusetts, starring in the Barrington Stage Co. production of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Company. Extended through Sept. 10, the run marks the first time that Tveit — also of Fox’s hit event Grease Live! and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables movie — is onstage stateside since 2011, when he led the Broadway adaptation of Catch Me If You Can.
Tveit — who next heads to New Orleans to shoot the crime drama Out of Blue with Patricia Clarkson — goes Off Script to talk tackling Sondheim, enjoying the Berkshires and receiving Game of Thrones-related gifts.
What’s the toughest part about performing Sondheim?
The hardest thing is learning the material. The lyrics can be very dense and challenging, and the melodies are unique and difficult. But something amazing happens when you finally do. He writes so brilliantly, the songs completely open up for you, as a storyteller — once you get a handle on them.
What is your most difficult number?
“Being Alive,” for sure. It’s the culmination of what I'm going through emotionally in the evening, and that emotion needs to be so close to the surface without completely destroying the ability to sing. It's really a tightrope, but I think it's the greatest song within the context of a musical, ever.
What do you do before a performance?
I’m pretty routine-oriented. My onstage health and stamina starts offstage — I try to eat right, get tons of sleep and work out. But getting an afternoon nap when I can is the best. I know, tough life.
Any preshow rituals?
I do take a quiet moment backstage to gather my thoughts and say some words of gratitude and reflection to myself. But even more so, I try to keep loose and have fun with the cast to relax.
What’s something special in your dressing room?
A wonderful fan sent me an array of Game of Thrones magnets. They are stuck on my mirror. Thank you!
How do you unwind after a show?
Go home. Eat. Watch television. Sleep. The glamorous life.
What do you do on your time off?
I have been enjoying the parks and the outdoors here as much as I can. I just love this area. In addition to being such a gorgeous place, the artistic community is just wonderful. There are so many places to see theatre or dance or live music, and it's reflected in the audiences. They’re as knowledgeable as you'll find anywhere.
What’s the best performance advice you’ve ever received?
Don't be afraid to be still and bring the audience to you. The best live performers have this amazing ability to make the audience lean into them.
Sept. 7, 8:30 a.m. A previous version incorrectly noted the location of the show. THR regrets the error.