Commander Stamets, you have the conn.
On Friday, May 20, Anthony Rapp (the actor famed for playing Mark Cohen in Rent and Commander Paul Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery) will be in Bend, where he will perform and deliver a keynote address at the Tower Theatre Foundation’s Inaugural Stage the Change PNW Conference.
This is the first time that the Stage the Change conference is being held outside of New York. Since 2013, the conference has aimed “to empower teens to use performing arts to find their social voice and be catalysts for change,” according to its mission statement.
Rapp’s concert will be focused songs that have inspired him, including tracks from Rent (he has appeared in both the Broadway and film versions of the play) and Hedwig and the Angry Itch.
Stage the Change will also feature Museum at Warm Springs director and former Oregon poet laureate Elizabeth Woody, who will deliver her own keynote address.
In recent pop culture history, Rapp has been a transformative figure. With his portrayal of Commander Stamets, he became the first actor to play an openly gay character on a Star Trek show, ending the series’ decadeslong skittishness about depicting same-sex relationships.
In 2017, the same year that Star Trek: Discovery premiered, Rapp also became an important figure in the #MeToo movement. In an interview with BuzzFeed, he said Kevin Spacey had sexually abused him in 1986. At the time, Spacey was 26 and Rapp was 14.
Rapp’s accusation opened the floodgates. More than a dozen people have accused Spacey of sexual misconduct, and he is currently facing a lawsuit by Rapp. However, he is already eyeing a comeback with three upcoming films, The Man Who Drew God, 1242 – Gateway to the West and Peter Five Eight.
Admission to Stage to Change costs $20. Tickets are available at: towertheatre.org/education/stage-the-change/.