Andrew Rannells, July 2011
|Born||Andrew Scott Rannells
August 23, 1978
|Alma mater||Marymount Manhattan College|
|Known for||Elder Price,
The Book of Mormon
|Television||The New Normal
|Awards||Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album
The Book of Mormon
Andrew Scott Rannells (born August 23, 1978) is an American actor and singer best known for his work as Elder Price in the 2011 Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, which earned him a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. As a featured soloist on the musical's Original Broadway Cast Recording, he won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. His other Broadway credits include Jersey Boys and Hairspray.
Rannells was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Charlotte Rannells and the late Ronald Rannells. Rannell's father had a heart attack very suddenly in 2001 when Rannells was 22. He is the fourth of five siblings: three sisters and an older brother. His family has an Irish and Polish background.
Rannells attended Our Lady of Lourdes grade school and then Creighton Prep, an all-boys Catholic school in Omaha, that Alexander Payne, Conor Oberst and Nicholas D'Agosto also attended. His family lived in the Hanscom Park neighborhood of Omaha.
As a child Rannells took classes at the Emmy Gifford Children's Theater and performed at the Omaha Community Playhouse and the Firehouse Dinner Theatre and the Dundee Dinner Theatre. Rannells was 11 when he did his first play. He said he did community theater with Conor Oberst: "We did children's theater together. We were both in Peter Pan. I played a pirate and an Indian. He was one of those Darling kids. I can't remember which one." Rannells also did a significant amount of regional voice-over work and commercials that came to Omaha. One was a commercial for a bank that was a Grease spoof, featuring Rannells and Amy Adams in 1996.
On growing up in Omaha within the Catholic community: Rannells said his family was loud, irreverent, sarcastic, so not so conservative, even though they went to Catholic school and church. Rannells said his family was more culturally Catholic. Rannells said the close-knit community was like a social club, like a "middle class country club," but it wasn't that religious.
Rannells moved to New York City in 1997 after high school, studying theater at Marymount Manhattan College for two years before he started auditioning full-time and was landing roles. On not completing college: "But the fact that my passion was acting, and I was paying for college myself, I was just like, 'I can't justify going this deep into debt for something that might not mean anything. So I want to just try it. I want to try and see if I'm good enough to do this before I invest anymore financially in this.'"
For about three years, from 2001–04, he worked with 4Kids Entertainment, a New York City animation production company, where his Omaha voice-over work served him well. He also directed a couple of video games, "Kirby" and "Sonic the Hedgehog."
As a voice actor, Rannells appeared in several 4Kids and DiC television programs and video games, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Before winning his first Broadway role, Rannells took part in a number of regional theater productions, including Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Miss Saigon, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. For his turn as Hedwig at the Zachary Scott Theater Center in Austin, Texas, in 2002, Rannells was nominated for and won for best actor and actress in a musical at the B. Iden Payne Awards in September 2002, which honor outstanding achievements in Austin theater. In 2006, he won the role of Link Larkin in the Broadway production of Hairspray. This was his first Broadway show, what he considers his big break. Rannells followed this with some regional performances.
Rannells played Bob Gaudio in the First National Tour of Jersey Boys. His last performance with the tour was on December 6, 2008 in Toronto. In January 2009, he reprised the role of Gaudio in the musical's Broadway production.
Rannells originated the role of Elder Price in The Book of Mormon, a musical written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. For his performance, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for his performance in the musical's Original Broadway Cast Recording. His last performance was June 10, 2012.
On coming out, Rannells said he came out when he graduated high school. He came out to his family when he was 18 and said by that point “no one was surprised,” and characterized it as anti-climactic. Rannells said he knew he was gay in high school but just felt that at an all-boy's Catholic school that it would be too stressful, that "it wouldn't be great for him." Rannells said he was out with all of his theater friends at the time. He said that he had such a great circle of people around him that he didn't consider it all that traumatic. He said that the thing that was hardest in the mid-1990s was that the AIDS crisis was in full swing and the depiction of gays on TV was "basically murderers or AIDS victims."
Rannells counts himself lucky that he had his family's support: "I remember my dad saying he believed it was a choice, but that he also loved me, and that he would support me no matter what I chose to do. And then about six months later, he said, 'I've been thinking about this a lot, and it clearly is not a choice. This is clearly the way you were born, because as I replay your childhood in my head, I know that you've been telling us this since you were born. So no, this is not a choice and I love you and I will always love you.' So I'm so lucky to come from a family where that was the response."
|2012–present||Girls||Elijah Krantz||Recurring role (season 1–3)
Main role (season 4–present)
|2012–13||The New Normal||Bryan Collins||Main role|
|2013–14||How I Met Your Mother||Darren||2 episodes|
|2005||Hairspray||Fender, Link Larkin||Replacement roles|
|2006||The 60's Project||Performer||Chester, CT (Regional): World Premiere|
|2007||Jersey Boys||Bob Gaudio||US Tour: 1st National Tour, replacement role|
|2011||The Book of Mormon||Elder Price||Originated role|
|2014||Hedwig and the Angry Inch||Hedwig||Replacement|
|2010||Sex and the City 2||Wedding Chorus|
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- Aradi, Cathi (March 3, 2008). "JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Andrew Rannells!". jerseyboysblog.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
- Andrew Rannells at the Internet Movie Database
- Andrew Rannells at the Internet Broadway Database
- @AndrewRannells on Twitter