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This isn’t your average "Spring Awakening." For those who have witnessed this masterpiece on stage firsthand, would most likely have fallen in love with Matt Doyle. He made a big splash last year in the Alan Brown film, "Private Romeo," starring opposite of Seth Numrich, which was an artful, reimagining of Shakespeare’s "Romeo And Juliet" with a gay twist. And he’s taken Broadway by storm in such hits as "Spring Awakening" and "War Horse." Oh, did we mention he also is a successful singer – now working towards his second CD release?
His unsurpassed zeal for the theatrical spotlight radiates any venue with the ease of our modern day version of a Cary Grant, and the suave movement of a Johnny Depp. With Wolfe Video releasing "Private Romeo" onto DVD this month, we thought it the perfect opportunity to talk one on one with this brilliant talent, who let us into his world and gives us, the juicy details behind his craft.
What do you consider yourself first and foremost? An actor or a singer/songwriter?
Definitely an actor.
I went to school for it. It was what I was most passionate about growing up and I actually trained in classical theatre. I took a lot of voice growing up, and voice was important to me, but I never really tied the two together. I knew that I loved musical theatre but it was not something that I necessarily intended to do for a career. I ended up going to school for classical theatre then came back to New York. I kind of fell into musical theatre, I’d say. I love singing and it is something that has become a hobby and it turned into a wonderful side project for me, but I would say first and foremost – actor. If I was told that there was only one thing, or that my voice would be taken away from me, I would still want to act.
I guess the reason I sounded so surprised was that you have been in so many musicals, and big ones too.
I know! [Laughs].
You are doing something right!
Yeah. I was in the right place, at the right time. It was a great way in. I got Spring Awakening through an open call. I sat on the “non-equity” benches of an ”equity call” and waited 9 hours to be seen, and got the show 7 months later. It was because I had a cool rock voice and went in there and sang my face off – and somehow ended up on Broadway.
It was just really, really incredibly fortunate experience. I’m still grateful to have that in my background. From there, I’ve been able to just build with projects like Private Romeo and then I did a play last year, War Horse, for a year. So, I’m absolutely thrilled to have done so much musical theatre. I’m actually going to be doing another musical coming up that I can’t announce yet, but it is going to Broadway. So, musicals have become a huge part of my life and I’m so grateful for it. But, yeah, I’d say actor first and foremost, hopefully.
That’s cool. You are good at both. You know, you’ve gotten rave reviews for Private Romeo – so how has that been a boon for your acting career?
It’s been wonderful. I was so thrilled to be able to finally showcase a huge passion of mine, which is classical theatre. Like I said, I trained in it and to be able to put it to use finally was almost a relief! I was very concerned to make it back to the States, after training in the UK for a year, at how little classical theatre there is here.
No, the Bard, he just doesn’t play well with people, the American audience – as you’d say. Personally, I love them. Shakespeare is timeless.
Yeah. You can’t escape Shakespeare. I mean it’s such a huge part of the culture that everyone is brought up on and studies. I got back here and was so surprised by how little there was, so when the project rolled along, and my agent told me about it I was so excited. To not only get to do Romeo and Juliet on film, but also to get to play with it in that kind of way – and experiment with it. So I was over the moon. And I think it has been wonderful for my career. A lot of people go, oh he’s an actor – and I was alongside somebody like Seth Numrich who did the same thing – he went to Julliard for 4 years and had a lot of classical theatre. We all had backgrounds in classical training. It was really wonderful to finally put it to use. It was thrilling.
Do you think this reimagining of it actually speaks to the audience now in a way that maybe a straight production of Romeo and Juliet might get lost in the mix? "Private Romeo" really turned that upside down.
I think so. It’s just a challenging film and I think that we all know that it’s definitely something that’s different, that isn’t necessarily met with open arms and adoration from everyone because it challenges you – and it asks a lot of the audience. I think that’s a mark of a good director. Alan was so excited about this project and so thrilled to be able to experiment with it. We definitely had a lot of fun. It’s so brilliant how it worked. Sometimes we have to give it a little bit more of a metaphorical context. But honestly, I think that it’s really thrilling to see Romeo in a contemporary, all boys, military academy and see how it plays – even in that setting.
That to me is the most contemporary mark about the film because you’re looking at this classic, that is so beloved and universal that everyone has embraced it and really looked at it as probably the greatest representation of love in theatre in a play. It’s really incredible to get to put that universally accepted story of love in a really unexpected and difficult setting, and yet it still thrives. To me, that’s the most amazing message about our film – is that love is universal. The immediacy, the foolishness, that that kind of love is absolutely universal – and you can put it anywhere and it will fly.
Can you please just give us a little hint about your new Broadway show that your going to star in? We won’t tell.
No, not yet. I can tell you that it will start out of town in the fall and come to Broadway next spring. And it’s a wonderful, wonderful, very well known musical project. When it is announced, I have a feeling that it is going to be very exciting.
For more Matt Doyle, check out mattdoylemusic.com. And pick up your copy of Private Romeo, available now on DVD at wolfevideo.com.
This article originally appeared HERE.