Jersey Boys Blog is delighted to present an interview with Matthew Scott, who is making his Broadway debut in Jersey Boys! Matt talks about how it all began for him; the excitement of playing so many roles in Jersey Boys; and his dreams as an actor.
JBB: Congratulations to Jersey Boys for winning the Tony Award for Best Musical! With Jersey Boys being your Broadway debut, what has it been like working on such a phenomenal show?
MS: Thanks. The sheer excitement of being a part of such a hit is overwhelming. We have the best audiences in New York City, and they let you know it. It’s a thrill performing Jersey Boys to sold out crowds. And, it’s especially exciting since I’m a Jersey Boy myself.
JBB: What sparked your interest in acting and musical theatre? Who were your early influences?
MS: I think most young guys are drawn to their high school stages for one reason only…the cute girls. Seriously, I always liked to sing and had done a lot when I was in school. When I got to high school, I vowed I would not be a part of the musicals there. But, after seeing my high school’s production of West Side Story, I was hooked. I wanted so much to be a part of that magic. Everyone onstage was having a blast and the audience was enthralled. My high school, Northern Valley Old Tappan High School in Bergen County, has a wonderful program led by my former teacher, mentor, and great friend John Housley. He has really helped shape me as an actor and pointed me in the right direction when auditioning for college programs. At one point, when I was struggling with the idea of being an actor or doing something else, he handed me a tape of “Sunday In the Park With George,” and said “If you get this, you know what you have to do.” And, I did, and I do.
JBB: As a swing, you play several different roles, including understudying for the Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, and Frankie Valli roles. What do you find most gratifying about playing so many different roles? What is the biggest challenge for you as a swing?
MS: The biggest challenge of being a swing is keeping everything straight in your head. Sometimes it’s months before you go on for a role again. You run through the show in your head in about fifteen minutes, go out on stage to look at the spike marks, do your hair, and pray. On the other hand, I get to play a variety of characters and types in Jersey Boys. In addition to covering the roles of Bob, Tommy, and Frankie, I also cover Joe Pesci (and all of Michael Longoria’s tracks), as well Norm Waxman (and all of Donnie Kehr’s tracks), and all the roles played by Tituss Burgess. Where else would I get to play such a variety of interesting characters?! Tommy and Bob are great characters, because they are so dissimilar, and yet so alike at the same time. I really find their dynamic to be one of the most compelling in the show. And, on occasion, I get to play it from both angles.
JBB: Out of the roles youâ€™ve played so far in Jersey Boys, do you have a personal favorite?
MS: It’s hard to pick a favorite in this show. All of the roles are written so well by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. I can’t pick. I won’t do it!
JBB: What is your favorite scene in Jersey Boys and why?
MS: Another tough one. But, I’d have to say that my favorite scene in the Show is “Cry For Me.” This is where you see the “Four Seasons” come together for the first time. I remember the first time I saw it, and it made me…well, cry. I knew I was witnessing something really special. The four guys are fantastic in this moment and the audience goes nuts for it.
JBB: What is your favorite song in Jersey Boys and why?
MS: Again, it would probably be “Cry For Me,” although “My Eyes Adored You” and “Who Loves You” are also favorites of mine.
JBB: What is it about Jersey Boysâ€™ story and the music that makes the audience feel so connected?
MS: I think it’s because these are four regular guys from the projects of New Jersey who made it out. They struggled, they lost, they triumphed, and they’re still going. That’s universal. People from all over the world can appreciate it just as much as people from New Jersey and New York. The music is timeless, and instantly connects an audience to a specific time and place in their life. For younger audiences, the rich story and good-looking cast is what’s appealing. Our audience widely ranges in age, and that’s a credit to director Des McAnuff who knows exactly what a contemporary audience wants, and gives it to them on a silver platter.
JBB: Whatâ€™s your favorite anecdote while working on Jersey Boys?
MS: I don’t know that this really qualifies as an anecdote. But, it was really fun to be a part of the Tony Awards. We rehearsed twice at Radio City Music Hall and that was so cool. All the shows were gathered out in the house and would go on stage to do their numbers. The energy was electric and everyone was cheering everyone else on. The Broadway community is really special and incredibly supportive.
JBB: Are their any actors/actresses or directors youâ€™ve admired that you would like to work with in the future?
JBB: I would loooooooovvvvvvvveeeeeeee to work with Mike Nichols at some point in my career. Play, musical, movie, whatever! He’s amazing. I’d also love to work with Jack O’Brien and David Yazbek, Aaron Sorkin (on anything), and would be thrilled if I could work on another project with the creators of Jersey Boys.
JBB: What are some of your â€œdream rolesâ€?
MS: George (Sunday in the Park…); The Balladeer (Assassins); Franklin Shepard (Merrily We Roll Along); and Tony (West Side Story)…get the connection? And at some point, I’d love to do Biff in Death of a Salesman.
JBB: What would you like to do next in your career after Jersey Boys?
MS: I have no idea what’s in store next, part of the fun is not knowing, and just taking it as it comes. I just hope it’s as wonderful and fulfilling as my time at Jersey Boys has been.
Jersey Boys Blog would like to thank the multi-talented Matthew Scott for this incredible Q&A session!