Andrew Rannells: Meet The New Normal's Bryan
BY Jeremy Kinser
July 10 2012 4:00 AM ET
Above: Rannells anticipates a pregnancy with Bebe Wood, Justin Bartha, and Georgia King in NBC’s The New Normal.
Two buzzy television series and a hit Broadway musical must have seemed like impossible dreams to Rannells as a kid in Omaha, where he was the fourth of five children in a close-knit Catholic family. However, Rannells developed a desire to perform as a young boy, due in no small part to his mother’s love of Broadway cast albums and his father’s fondness for classic films.
“My dad showed me a lot of MGM musicals and a lot of Betty Grable movies,” he recalls with a laugh. “I was also lucky enough to grow up in a town that had a great children’s theater. It was very fun for me.”
Serendipity came when casting directors visited Omaha searching for vocal talent for a Saturday morning animated series. Rannells was hired, launching a lengthy side career in voice work that included the Pokémon series. It gave him a paycheck that would help subsidize his stage aspirations when he moved to New York.
Before he left the Midwest for college and the bright lights of New York, Rannells wanted to begin his new life with a clean slate. Upon graduating from high school, he officially came out to his family, who he says couldn’t have been more supportive.
“I came to New York and had a fresh start with college,” he says, looking back. “I was gay and that’s what I presented to a new group of people as I moved here.” Being open about his sexual orientation didn’t compromise his career opportunities. The actor’s matinee-idol good looks served him well, and within a few years he’d been cast in plum roles in the musicals Hairspray and Jersey Boys.