Grease Live 2016 present
7

Lin Manuel tweeting about Aaron Tveit during Grease Live was everything I needed in my life.

4

“Thank you to the best cast, crew and fans in television.” - Jeff Eastin

Aaron Tveit: An Education

There’s a good chance you found this post because you watched FOX’s recent live production of the musical Grease. And if that was your first introduction to Aaron Tveit, I feel like you deserve an apology from the Tveiter Tots. You should never have had to deal with that voice…those biceps…that HAIR without some period of initiation. I apologize on behalf of the fandom. 

Aaron Tveit has been around on the Broadway scene for quite a while, he’s made regular guest appearances on Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty, and appeared in a handful of indie films. Tveit gained the attention of a broader audience when he portrayed French rebellion leader Enjolras in the 2012 feature film adaptation of the musical Les Miserables. Following that film, he starred in USA’s original series Graceland as a goody-two-shoes FBI agent who has to make some difficult choices when the lines dividing the good guys and the bad guys get blurred. 

Since the end of Graceland, Tveit has made a few films that are in various states of post-production and distribution, and found his next TV leading role in CBS’s upcoming Brain Dead (expected Summer 2016). 

So…there have been opportunities for you to find your way into the world of the Tveiter Tots, but you would have had to go looking.  

This list of clips will fully ingratiate you into the fandom and give you the resources you need to understand most Tumblr references. Enjoy your trip down the YouTube black hole…and welcome! 

PREREQUISITES: 

There are three clips that are pre-introductory. They’re basic. You must watch these before you can even understand anything else I’ll show you. These are the clips that, at their lowest level, let you know Aaron can sing, he’s always been able to sing, and he *probably* knows what to do with his hands.  

Run Away With Me (2008) - the clip that made Aaron a (limited) internet sensation. It just crossed the 1 million views mark this past week and is arguably the most beloved thing Aaron has ever done or will ever do. He’s young, and his hair does that little ducktail thing in the front. The voice is undeniable, and then you start to notice how his hands work the mic stand. Remember that. That will be important later.  

I’m Alive (2009) - Aaron appeared on Broadway in several roles before landing the one that would really put him on the Great White Way map - Gabe in Next To Normal. NTN is a quirky and heart-wrenching family drama in which Aaron’s character is (spoiler alert!) dead, but lives on in the mind of his mother. This video of him recording his character’s signature song is where you’ll probably notice Aaron’s mouth for the first time. Yeah. Get used to noticing that. 

One Song Glory (2010) - What young man who can sing and dance and act hasn’t played Roger at some point? If you graduated high school before the year 2002, RENT was probably an important moment along your path to adulthood. Roger is an HIV-positive musician who fears he’ll never find love again or accomplish his life’s purpose. He just wants to write one great song that will connect him to other people in a meaningful way. Watch Aaron tap into all that angst, black fingernails, guyliner and all.  

SYLLABUS: 

Okay, now you’re ready for the actual class. Get ready to operate on the expert level when it comes to Aaron Tveit. 

Fly Fly Away (2010) - Miscast is an annual theatre fundraiser where actors sing songs written for characters they’ve never played with a lot of gender-bending along the way. This song was originally sung by Aaron’s character’s love interest in Catch Me If You Can, but I’ve always preferred this version!! Sensitive dreamy Aaron at his best.

What Is This Feeling (2009) - another one from the previous year’s Miscast in which Aaron performed with his Catch Me If You Can co-star Norbert Leo Butz (oh man, now that I’ve mentioned him, I’m probably going to have to do an NLB swoonfest at some point because you ALSO need to know about NLB). In this one, you’ll see Aaron’s adorkable sense of humor and learn once and for all how to pronounce his name (”it’s not that hard!”). You’ll also get your first glimpse of his signature skip dance move and an *almost* twerk. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Along the Way (2008) - from a one-off concert he did featuring songs from writing duo Pasek & Paul. The whole thing is super cute, but the most important part happens in the first 10 seconds. That little head tilt and his LIPS. Actually the way he moves his mouth in this whole performance, amirite?

Dancing Through Life - I like to call this one “The Full Fiyero.” The pants. The moves. OMG.

Hairspray - Aaron was in the touring cast of Hairspray in 2005-2006 and was a PERFECT Link Larson. I would like to officially cast my vote for him to come back for NBC’s live production later this year, but only if it doesn’t interfere with his limited run as Hamilton’s King George (no, he’s not *technically* scheduled to play King George, but if I and The Secret have anything to do with it, HE WILL BE). Anyway, here’s Without Love and I Can Hear the Bells (so so funny!) from Hairspray!

Next To Normal Tonys performance (2009) - Aaron comes in at 3:45 and if you liked Jealous!Danny in Grease, you’re gonna LOVE Jealous!Gabe in the last 30 seconds of this performance!!! (Side note: YES, there’s a weird vibe between Aaron’s character Gabe and the dad here having to do with Alice Ripley as the mom/wife. Welcome to Next To Normal! In all seriousness, though, that show is so sympathetic to grief and mental health issues and made me bawl.)

Seven Wonders (2011) - So. Much. Shirtless. Aaron. 

Elsie Fest (2015) - Elsie Fest is an outdoor music festival featuring songs from stage and screen started in 2015 by Darren Criss, Ricky Rollins and Jordan Roth. This particular performance is really cute. REALLY. Cute. Dear Aaron, please make a legit pop album so I can throw money at it and see you on tour.

WANGBT (2013) - This is the definitive version of Aaron’s Taylor Swift cover, however, from the second night of his spectacular sold-out run at 54 Below. Especially important is 1:35 when he drops one hand from the mic and you finally know for sure that he definitely knows what to do with his hands, 2:08 when he does a tiny body roll, and 3:18 when he skips. SKIPS. Because it is, after all, his signature move. 

Finally, you should really spend some time watching and listening to Aaron speak, because he has a great voice and is very funny. You might like listening to him talk enough to download one of the audiobooks he narrated, and I would absolutely not judge you for that.  

There are lots of interviews online of Aaron promoting various projects, and they’re all great, of course. I think his appearances on Show People are the best, though, since they’re the most in depth and personal. Plus, Paul Wontorek is the host, and he is the biggest Tveiter Tot of us all. :) Bonus: Aaron looks SO GOOD in all of them. His hair in the last one is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. 

First Show People

Second Show People

Third Show People

Last, but very definitely not least, Aaron’s appearance at the 2013 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards was a VERY important moment for the fandom because we got DrunkInPublic!Aaron (or at least a very convincing performance) which we’d never even come close to before.  

Presenting - this links to the whole show because I can’t find just Aaron’s part, so skip to 11:52 and for 13 minutes imagine what it would be like to flirt with Aaron in a bar. SPOILER ALERT: It would be GREAT. 

Secret Talent - from the after party that same year. I guarantee his secret talent is not something you expect it to be, and that you will spend at least 30 minutes trying to do it yourself and likely fail miserably (….I speak from personal experience here). 

And there you go. Once you make it through this list, you will officially be a bonafide legit Tveiter Tot. Congratulations! 

It took me three years to amass this knowledge, and I’m giving it to you for free out of the goodness of my heart. I firmly believe there is nothing more fun than being a fangirl, and I don’t know that I’ve come across anyone more deserving of having a devoted fandom than Aaron Tveit. His talent and good looks are plain to see, but he also seems to be a solid dude and a genuinely good person. Enjoy your trip into the Tveiter Tot fandom and don’t hesitate to tell me what other Tveit goodies you find along the way! What did I miss? What performance or interview do you think is essential? The only thing better than fangirling is fangirling with FRIENDS so holla at your girl! 

Tumblr: @michellecwheeler

Twitter: @michellewheeler

Grease: LIVE is available to watch (or rewatch!) online or On Demand starting February 1, and look for Aaron in CBS’s Brain Dead this summer! 

Statistics Don’t Lie

I looked up the Google Trends info for the search term “Aaron Tveit” and this is what I found:

That little bump around 2013 was when Les Mis came out, introducing Aaron to audiences worldwide for the first time (including me). It then continued due to his lead role on Graceland, but slowly petered out until this week when BOOM Grease: Live happened, with 12.18 million people watching (and that’s in the US alone!), making the graph skyrocket upwards!

Hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because we are in for a wild ride!