I was playing this character, Melchior Gabor, who was a rebel and who was a person who didn't let the world define him, and who stood up to authority and was this kind of revolutionary... And when I left 'Spring Awakening,' I came out of that experience feeling like... I had cultivated this side of my personality that hadn't existed before.
I ended up doing three very complicated off-Broadway plays that, in certain ways, were not successes in that they were received in a complicated way. But for me they were successes because they forced me to act without singing, which I'd never done before.
After 'Spring Awakening,' I wanted to do things that are really challenging and outside my comfort zone: things that scare me a little and make me grow.
I've never met Lena Dunham, but I'm such a huge fan - I think she's a crazy genius.
I love interacting with an audience. I love just being myself in front of a crowd.
I think the first Broadway show that I saw was 'Beauty and the Beast,' and that was in 5th or 6th grade. Our school would take bus trips up to see shows, and so it was on one of their bus trips that I got to see 'Beauty and the Beast.'
It's so awesome to be a part of something that is successful not because there's a famous person in it or because it's a revival of something, but because it's so fresh and original.
I feel like certainly there are people expecting 'Looking' to be representative of everyone that's gay, the entire gay community. And it's a dangerous expectation to come in watching the show expecting that. Expecting that out of any show.
Once I came out of the closet, it was sort of that thing of 'The truth will set you free.'
I'm not on Twitter. I'm not on Facebook. I'm not on Instagram.
Obviously, gay projects play a special role for me because I am gay, so I'm doubly proud of them.
We didn't have a glee club at my school. It depends on what area of the States you're from. It's more in the Midwest.
I don't hate dating people, but I'm not on social media or anything.
I taught a class about the Tony Awards at a summer theater camp the year after I graduated from high school. So, the first time I was nominated for 'Spring Awakening,' it felt like a surreal dream: it was every childhood dream I had come true. It felt like a fairy tale.
When a piece of art gets really specific is usually when anybody can relate to it.
I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, watching the Tony Awards on TV. Not just 'watching' the Tony Awards on TV - I would record them on a VHS tape and bring them in to school and show them to the other kids.
I was definitely planning to go to college, but I deferred my admission to Carnegie Mellon to be in a non-equity tour of 'The Sound of Music.' But I made very little money in the tour, and college is really expensive, and I thought I'd never be able to pay off those loans.
I'd always done musicals, and so living in the world of straight plays and working with off-Broadway actors and living in that community was a completely life-changing experience.
When you're always onstage, you really have to focus on listening and reacting.
I was journaling in Florence, and I was like, 'Oh, I have to come out of the closet. I have to break up with this guy' - he was my 'roommate.' So that was my awakening moment, when I stepped into my own skin while in a foreign country by myself and had a very stereotypical moment of revelation.
I loved 'Weekend,' and it meant a lot to me when I saw it in the movie theater. I think 'Looking' feels more like that movie than any of those other shows, with a little more comedy thrown in than 'Weekend.' But it's certainly got the vibe and look and feeling of that movie.
With every character, the first thing I want to feel is empathy.
As an actor, I have these tics that I don't even know exist.
When you get to really involve yourself with a piece and the other people, and you get to feel like it's a community and you're all building something together, it helps me to produce better work, I think.
Ultimately, we're actors: I'm putting on a costume, so we're playing pretend.
I bought the VHS of 'Into the Woods' at the Suncoast in the Park City Mall and watched it in the basement when I got home. And when it was over, I rewound it and immediately watched it again.
A 'Looking' musical would completely bring me back to Broadway. I would come back in a second.
When I was a senior in high school, I worked at a theater where they hired New York actors. And they told me about 'Backstage,' and so I got my school in Pennsylvania to subscribe. And there was an audition for a tour of 'The Sound of Music,' and I got the job. Deferred my admission to college just to go on tour.
Don't let the world define you. In the world of acting, and I think in any profession, really, people are really eager to put you in a box and categorize you as one particular thing.
Whenever you get into a new environment, it's scary. You don't know the people; you're not really comfortable with the machine that the show is.
For Halloween, I've gone trick-or-treating as Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Robin Hood.
When I moved to New York, I wanted to be in the ensemble of 'Hairspray.' That was my goal.
I did 'How to Succeed in Business... ,' 'Kiss Me Kate,' 'Godspell,' and 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' in high school, all of which were fun.
When I was 20 years old, I got cast in 'Spring Awakening' and got swept up in this experience where it was kind of tunnel vision. We were working - it was nonstop.
I moved to New York on October 21, 2004, and it was the day that the Chelsea Grill, a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen on 9th Avenue between 46th and 47th Street, opened. I had never waited a table in my life, but I walked in and lied to the manager in a very J. Pierrepont Finch way.
My first film that I got right after 'Spring Awakening' was called 'Taking Woodstock,' and Ang Lee was the director.
I guess I think of myself as an actor before I think of myself as a gay actor.
The difference between being in the closet and out of the closet as a gay man is such a huge shift. I feel so connected still to that 22-year-old, but the idea that I was not open with that part of my life - which I am now so open about - is sort of surreal.
I'd rather be a working actor and not hiding anything in my personal life.
'Looking' is more than just a television show. It's contributing to the cultural conversation, and for me, those are the most exciting projects to be a part of.
I've been fortunate that my career has developed through on-the-job training.
I remember telling my mom, 'Mom, I'm gay, but I'm not going to march in a parade or anything.' That's what I was telling my parents and all my friends and everything. I'm gay, but I'm not going to be on a float or something. Cut to five years later, and I was the grand marshal of the gay pride parade.
I can't think of a better bonding experience than to be able to sit on stage and to watch your fellow performers perform on stage every night.
I never look at myself online, and I don't read gossip Web sites.