A Latte Conversation with Tyler Mount
By Amy Sapp
How do you take your tea?
I don’t do any caffeine, whatsoever. Most people think I am ridiculously caffeinated, especially if you have seen my show, The Tyler Mount Vlog. I typically drink chamomile with nothing in it. I am drinking strawberry tea right now, but I like me some chamomile, decaf. We are living a good life caffeine-free.
You have a background as a stage performer. What made you switch to creating your own content through YouTube and Facebook videos?
I never, ever, ever sat down and said, “I am going to create a Broadway vlog. I am going to create content.” It never started like that. It just was not a thing. It was very much an accident. It was a complete and utter accident. I was in the right place at the right time.
This is the thirty-second rundown. My best friend, Yasmin, was coming into the city because she did not live here at the time. I woke up one more and decided, “I want to do a vlog.” I did not know what that meant, so I over-nighted on Amazon Prime the cheapest light, the cheapest camera, a baby three-inch tripod. Yasmin came into the city to my house, and I set the tripod up on a top of a humidifier box on top of a chair. We just sat on my couch and talked. We decided, “Let’s not edit this; it is going to be stupid.” But then I edited it anyways. I thought it was hysterical but that no one would laugh at it except for us. We did a little dance break, did a silly game out of the blue colander that I have.
Again, it was a complete accident. We uploaded that video YouTube and got 500 views that night, just through our friends. Now, that’s not huge for YouTube. But for a first video that I did not promote and that people just shared because they thought it was hysterical? That’s where the vlog really started.
What was the next step for you in terms of producing content?
At the time, I was working on my fourth Broadway show as a stage manager or production assistant. For this show, On Your Feet!, I was a production assistant. I was doing the vlog every week with my friends, but Ana Villafañe (who plays Gloria Estefan in the show) came to me and said that she wanted to be on the vlog. She came over to my house, filmed it, and we had a great time. I had worked with my friend Cady Huffman, who won the Tony Award for The Producers, and she said yes when I asked her to come over and film an episode. She’s one of the most talented and kind human beings on this Earth.
At the time, I was also stage-managing a huge benefit concert for Gloria Estefan at the Minskoff Theatre for a return to Broadway concert. I went in to call places, and Gloria says to me, “Tyler, I hear you have a vlog. Can I come on it?” I said, “Yes. Yes, you can.” So, she and her crew - whom I adore and love - came over, and she sat on my couch; we drank a bottle of wine each. The video went viral overnight, and Playbill called me and asked me to do work for last year’s BroadwayCon. I now have a relationship with them that I love; the rest is history.
You’re only 26. What is your reaction to this success?
I do the vlog because, obviously, I am passionate, and I love doing it. But I also do it because it is the first thing I have ever done that I can be unapologetically myself. I am a huge Broadway fan. I love seeing Broadway shows. I remember being a 12 year-old in small-town Montgomery, Texas with 300 people and one stoplight, going to play practice, being an only child, coming home, closing the door, and just watching YouTube videos of Broadway shows, desperately wanting to be a part of that. I remember straight up sobbing in my room thinking, “I want to move to New York. I want to be on Broadway. I want to be part of that community.” But it seemed so out-of-reach for me because I was from small-town Texas. But then, when I got here, I realized that this actually is so reachable.
Let’s talk about The Tyler Mount Vlog. Last night, I saw a clip of an upcoming episode with RENT’s Anthony Rapp. What can you tell us about his episode?
Long story short, I just wrapped production on season three. Giuseppe Bausilio (CATS, Newsies) was my last guest for season three, and my final episode comes out Thursday, October 13. We are revamping the entire show. We are now moving to a traditional, twelve-week season. So, I am going to do twelve weeks with twelve huge Broadway stars. I am still going to do my Thursday vlog which is just me in my bedroom, so that does not stop. My followers will always be able to hang out with me once a week, if not twice a week. That’s important.
With the new season, we are getting even bigger Broadway names, some of the biggest names on Broadway. We are shooting in a brand new production studio. I am not kidding, we are going to have brand new lights, brand new sound equipment, brand new camera – brand new everything, even the set. It is going to be the same concept – me hanging out with Broadway stars over drinks – and we are going to play a fun game, but the content is a little different. The setup is a little different. We have a brand new introduction. Everything is going to be a bit new.
With that being said, I started production last week for the next season. The new season starts on November 14 and runs twelve weeks through the end of January, which culminates with the end of BroadwayCon. After that, we will premiere the following season, culminating with the 2017 Tony Awards.
When I say we have huge stars, I mean out-of-this-world stars. I’ll reveal two people to you that I have already interviewed. The first is Jennifer Damiano (Next to Normal, American Psycho). I made her sing “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” with me, and twelve year-old Tyler was dying; everything was fine. But yesterday, seventh grade Tyler nearly died because Anthony Rapp – let me rephrase, The Anthony Rapp – came to my house, sat on my couch, and we had a great time. We both cuddled in a snuggie – details to come later. And we sang “La Vie Boheme.” When the stars come onto my show, they know what they are getting into – kind of. I basically said, “I could not have you on my couch and not do this.” We sat on my couch and sang “La Vie Boheme” karaoke.
Did you two recreate the actual choreography?
Obviously. Clearly he knew it, and I knew a lot of it. But the caveat of this is, all of my season is copyright free. I don’t put any copy written music on an episode unless it is through karaoke or a parody. My entire season is copyright free. That being said, it was so funny when I uploaded the teaser clip with Anthony Rapp to Facebook because the site flagged the video as the original cast recording because it was Anthony Rapp singing the real track. The clip matched the algorithm on Facebook perfectly.
Other than belting with Anthony Rapp, can you pinpoint a full-circle moment for you in the Broadway industry thus far?
Every time I make a video, I try to look in the camera and think about that child in small-town Idaho watching, knowing that “One day, I can have Anthony Rapp come to my house and sing “La Vie Boheme” with me. In a snuggie. Quite possibly.
I remember, for as long as I can remember, watching the Tony Awards every year in my bedroom with the door closed, just sitting at the edge of my bed, staring at the screen, thinking, “I want to do that. I want to do that so badly.” Knowing there was only one way to do it was being in a starring role on Broadway. So, I went to school for it. I have a conservatory certificate after I got my undergraduate degree, but I was so unhappy auditioning. But I didn’t want to give up on my dreams. I still thought that the only way I could get to the Tony Awards would be if I were starring in The Book of Mormon.
This year, you actually went to the Tony Awards. How did that happen?
I was sitting at my computer, and I got an email from the Tony Awards that read, “Hey, we love what you’re doing. Will you come to the awards this year?” It was out-of-this-world. Small-town, Texas Tyler who had just dreamed of watching the Tonys went.
One of the coolest moments in the history of the world for me at this year’s Tony Awards dealt with Cynthia Erivo. If you watch my show, it is no surprise to you that I am obsessed with Cynthia Erivo. Not like in a creepy way, but I am obsessed with her talent. I had met her on the red carpet for the Drama Leagues that I had done earlier that year. (She was obviously the hottest person that night.) So, I was at the gala at the Plaza for the Tony Awards in my custom-made tux with my best friend and my boyfriend. I am walking out of the grand ballroom after seeing the Tony Awards, and I see Cynthia Erivo and her entourage walk in. Everyone swarmed her, and I just remember walking up and saying, “Congratulations.” She says, “Oh, it is so great to see you again!” We Snapchat, she kisses me, and then my boyfriend has a video of me walking away as she says, “Oh goodness, he is so nice.” It was one of those full circle moments.
Can you pinpoint a YouTube video from your childhood that you watched more than any other?
The final taped performance of Eden Espinosa singing “Defying Gravity.” I would sit in my room and replay it over and over and over, acting like I was Elphaba, standing on my chair. That’s the video I wore out.
Before final coffee questions, what advice do you have for any person reading this conversation?
“Be who you want to be. Never let them tell you who you ought to be.”
Rapid Fire. Coffee or Tea?
Whole milk or almond milk?
Almond milk. I try not to do dairy. I mean, I eat a pint of ice cream a day. But other than that.
Sugar or Splenda?