The Broadway and London West End star of Rent joins a growing list of celebrities
in the US who are backing Democrat Howard Dean to defeat George W. Bush in the 2004
US Presidential election, writes OutUK correspondent Chris Cooper.
Musical star Anthony Rapp today endorsed former Vermont Governor Howard Dean for
President. Rapp is best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway and
London West End productions of the Pulitzer prize-winning rock musical Rent.|
also appeared in movies such as Dazed and Confused and the Oscar-winning A Beautiful
Mind. Currently, he is touring the US as the title character in the gender-bending musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Howard Dean, now the established frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination,
first came to Rapp's attention last year when the actor emceed an event for the
Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights lobbying organization. Dean spoke at the
event explaining his experience as the first Governor to sign into law a state statute
recognizing gay civil unions. Rapp said he "was completely blown away by Dean's candour,
his passion, his courage, and his humanity."
"He spoke so eloquently about how and why he came to sign the Civil Unions bill,
and the political cost to himself and how that solidified even more his conviction
that equal rights for all people are essential in America," Rapp told Out for
Dean in a recent interview.
Rapp, who has never before been involved with a political campaign, decided
Dean was the candidate to unseat Republican President George W. Bush.
Howard Dean camnpaigning in a San Diego gay bar.
"The Bush administration has consistently distorted facts, bending rhetoric to
hide its true intentions," claims Rapp, "and doing so in so much secret and
under some sort of presumption that Bush has a mandate to alter everything
in our government."
Rapp believes Howard Dean can excite disenfranchised voters more than any of the
other Democratic candidates. "He is truly in touch with what makes politics alive,"
raves Rapp, "people doing something to better our country because they believe
in it and in the ideas that created it.
"I do not agree 100 percent with all of his views. But I can't imagine being
excited about any of the other candidates," he added.
Rapp believes that as more voters become aware of Dean's positions on complex
issues, they will find it harder to accept the "liberal" label that many in the
media have given him. "The depth and breadth of his ideas and the scope of his
understanding is what will be appealing to a broad diversity of voters," says Rapp.
"America will probably be more than a little surprised that it's possible to be
blown away by the power of a politician once again."
Rapp will be joining a number of gay and lesbian celebrities co-hosting
Coming Out Day house parties for Dean in cities across America on October 11th. Out for
Dean is spearheading the project as an effort to raise the visibility of LGBT voters
and support a candidate it says will fight for their equality.
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