Ask Anthony Rosenthal about his experience in Falsettos, in which he plays Jason, and he replies, “I’m having the time of my life.” The fact that that life has lasted only 12 years takes nothing away from his elation. Born in San Francisco, and raised for 8 years in nearby Vacaville, Anthony has left that cow-town (“that’s what Vacaville means”) for the bright lights of Broadway. “I’m living my dream,” he said.
I met Anthony in his backstage dressing room, before an evening performance. He was sipping chicken soup. Before living his Broadway dream, Anthony had already played his dream role – Les, in Newsies – for ten months on a national tour. “I saw that show a few years ago,” he related. “It blew my mind. The energy. The dancing. It was eye-opening.” Afterwards, he and his family got a backstage tour. “I knew that this was the life for me,” Anthony said.
He was eight.
Most of Anthony’s offstage education has been online and with a tutor. “I just finished the 6th grade,” he said. “My favorite subject is English. I like to be creative. I love writing stories.” His performing creativity began at a young age. “My older sister” – Celia -- ‘’and I would sing and dance in the living room.” They acted out Grease and Hairspray and High School Musical. Anthony’s taste has broadened to include more recent Broadway fare: Bright Star, Something Rotten!
Anthony, whose parents are Alli Davis and Oliver Rosenthal, said he listens to some pop music, but much more often his ears are attuned to Broadway. “I was meant to be a theater kid,” he admitted proudly. As proof, he told me that he and Peyton Lusk, who covers Anthony’s role, have come up with a fake podcast to pass the time backstage. “It’s called ‘[title of podcast],’” – a nod to [title of show]. “Basically,” he added, “we geek out about musicals.”
What about chess, which Anthony’s character, Jason, plays in Falsettos? “I didn’t really play before we started rehearsals,” he said. “One of the crew taught me about the game. “ As for baseball, which Jason tries in the show, Anthony said, “I played tee-ball when I was about 5. I wasn’t very good. But neither is Jason.”
Backstage at Falsettos, Anthony said he and his six fellow cast members have lots of inside jokes. “And we have plenty of misadventures,” he added. “When we screw up, we laugh about it.” Working on the production has a serious side, too. “I didn’t really realize all the sadness of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s,” he said. “And I didn’t really realize there was a time when most people thought being gay was a bad thing. I’ve learned a lot.”
Now that Anthony has played the plum roles of Les in Newsies and Jason in Falsettos, what does the future hold? “When I’m older, I’d like to do Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly!” he confessed. He’s looking forward to the upcoming revival on Broadway.
I feel a fake podcast coming.
Brendan Lemon is the editor of lemonwade.com.