November 26, 2012

Part III of the Series “Is There Life After Jersey Boys?”: A Profile of Matt Scott

November 26th, 2012

Matt Scott
Matt Scott (Photo Credit:

By Howard Tucker, Jersey Boys Blog Special Correspondent

We at the Jersey Boys Blog have been pleased with both the fan and performer reactions to our recent profiles of Mike Backes and John Michael Coppola. We’ve been encouraged to continue featuring our most loved performers to update their fans, and the performers have been equally eager to update the Jersey Boys Blog and their fans on what they’ve done since “Jersey Boys” and what is next.

Our current article features Matt Scott (, who was a swing in the Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys,” understudying the roles of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Joe Pesci. Prior to “Jersey Boys” Matt starred in regional performances of “Ragtime” (at the famed Paper Mill Playhouse), “1776,” and “My Fair Lady.”

Howard Tucker: Before we get to your fantastic post- “Jersey Boys” career, how was it understudying for four roles and three of the leads? I don’t believe I’ve met with anyone who’s understudied for so many roles. How difficult was that and did you have a favorite?

Matt Scott: Jersey Boys was my Broadway debut. I was 23 at the time and I was totally game for anything and everything that was to be thrown my way. For the record, I initially covered three of the four Seasons as well as Pesci, Hank, Barry Belson, Norm Waxman. Eventually when I returned to the show after initially leaving, I also covered Bob Crewe. I performed all of those roles many, many times.

When I first joined the company, I loved going on for Bob. I felt connected to him and loved his place in the group. I play piano and I loved the idea of being onstage behind a keyboard and rocking out to these terrific songs.

I departed the show after a year and a half to do some other shows, including “A Catered Affair” which played on Broadway. I then returned for another six month engagement. This time, I took over the role of Hank Majewski. In my second go round at “Jersey Boys,” I found that I really loved playing Tommy. I don’t know exactly what changed. Perhaps I had grown up a bit and didn’t feel as comfortable playing the youngest member of the group anymore. I felt I could finally give Tommy the much needed depth and texture the role deserves.

Back to the first part of the question, I loved being in the original company. I went on as Joe Pesci after being with the show for only a week and a half. I had begun understudying rehearsals for Tommy DeVito. However, our stage manager Michelle Bosch informed me on a Tuesday night to go home and look over the material for Joey. I came in on Wednesday at 11 a.m. I first learned the choreography for the opening number, then I had blocking rehearsal in which I learned where to
place the set pieces and which spike marks were mine (I messed that up my first time out). Then I went upstairs and learned all the harmonies with Ron Melrose. I went on at the matinee that day!

While I was waiting behind the chain link fence to open the show as one of the hip hop dancers, I heard the music start and began to think how truly amazing it was that I was making my Broadway debut! As the fence went up I had a realization and I turned to Peter Gregus and said “I don’t have my microphone on.” Oops! Too late.

HT: Matt, you have had an amazing post-Jersey Boys career, both solo and with your lovely wife Kirsten Scott. I’ve personally seen you as the lead in “A Catered Affair” and in “Sondheim on Sondheim.” Before we go any further, in “A Catered Affair” you worked with two of the funniest people on the planet in my opinion, Harvey Fierstein and my friend Kristine Zbornik. Are they as funny off-stage as they are on?

MS: No– next question!! I’m kidding of course. Harvey is truly one of the funniest people alive, but there’s nothing surprising about that. But if you want to hear something surprising it’s this: Harvey is a shark at the poker table. He’s also a genuinely kind man with whom I’m still in touch. He’s Broadway royalty as far as I ‘m concerned.

As to Kristine, I adore her. She is a unique performer and writer. There is no one like her. I mean that. She is singular and in a class all her own. I’ve seen her solo shows and her wit is so biting and unique to her. She sings like Ethel Merman and her delivery is sharp and pointed like Shelley Winters. She’s awesome!

HT: I agree, Matt. Kristine was awesome at her 50th birthday gala several years ago. In “Sondheim,” you worked with true stars Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, and Norm Lewis. I’m still surprised that Barbara did not win the Tony that year. What was it like working with these legends and do you have any great anecdotes?

MS: Well, first off I agree on all fronts. They are all stars and, yes, Barbara was exceptional in that show as was the whole cast. I would like to take this opportunity to express my love for the entire cast but that would take all day. So, I’ll pick the three you pointed out.

Norm and I did a show before “Sondheim On Sondheim” called “First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb.” We shared a dressing room and let me tell you, you don’t want to be the guy next to Norm Lewis when he takes his shirt off. You feel bad instantly. Aside from that, Norm is one of the most beloved people in our community. He’s just a great guy! Nuff said.

I didn’t know Vanessa before, but let me tell you, she is one of the hardest working individuals on the face of the planet. Example: she was wrapping Ugly Betty while we were in rehearsals for SOS. It was a blizzard outside and we had been rehearsing at the Roundabout Rehearsal spaces. Vanessa was not called that day because it was her final day of shooting and she had a five A.M. call that morning. At 5 p.m. and with only an hour of rehearsal left, in walks Vanessa. She came directly from work and showed up for the last hour of rehearsal…for which she was not even called…in a blizzard! There’s a reason she’s a star and it’s not just ‘cause she’s a knockout. She’s the real deal.

As for Barbara. I had seen her perform twice before, the first time being when I was just 13 years old. So, to say that performing with her in her big Broadway return was amazing is an understatement. Barbara is also an exceptionally hard worker. She’s a first rate musician and a total team player. She loved the moments on stage that she got to share with everyone. She never said “no” or “that’s a bad idea.” She rolled with it all. I will never forget out first performance when we all sat onstage to listen to her sing “Send In The Clowns.” It was an out of body experience for me and the entire company. We all had to choke back out tears, it was so beautiful. By the way, Barbara is also very funny and can border on being a bit raunchy, but that’s all I’ll say…(laughs).

HT: I also know that you starred in “Ace,” produced by Nancy Nagel Gibbs, veteran producer of Rick Elice’s “Peter and the Starcatcher,” at the Signature Theatre in Washington, DC. It’s such a great book that I was hoping it would come to Broadway. What was your experience like with “Ace” and does it still stand a chance of making it to Broadway?

MS: Well, I loved doing “Ace.” What a beautiful show, and one of my first major starring regional roles. It started a long and wonderful relationship with a truly great theatre, The Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. But sadly, I don’t know what is going on with “Ace” right now. I am sure it will have a life, but most likely not with me in it. Often times, these things change hands and casts many times before they make their way to Broadway. I hope the creative team is still working hard to get it to Broadway.

HT: In fact, you’ve done a lot at the Signature Theatre, including “Side by Side by Sondheim” and “First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb.” A review of “First You Dream” by Peter Marks, head critic for the Washington Post, declared “It’s a pinnacle moment of the evening..the tunefully irresistible platter served up by Matthew Scott, singing a compilation of the title song from “Cabaret” and, from the 2007 “Curtains,” an impassioned “I Miss the Music.”

MS: Well, thank you. Signature has indeed been very good to me. I trust Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer explicitly. His entire team, including my college buddy Matt Gardiner (who directed me in “Side By Side”) are all first rate. My wife, Kirsten and I were asked to open their Cabaret series this summer and did so to great success. I always look forward to going back there. As for First You Dream, now that’s show that needs to come to Broadway!

HT: You’ve had an amazing 2012, playing Joe Gillis in “Sunset Boulevard,” one of my favorite plays (with Glenn Close) and movies (of course with Gloria Swanson). What was that like?

MS: Well, I did the show in Summer Stock at the Pittsburgh CLO. So that means I learned the role in seven days. In all fairness, I did meet several times with my Norma, the wonderful Liz Callaway, before we officially began rehearsal. We dove in head first, basically because we had no choice. The show, the roles, the set…everything about this show is HUGE. Liz was the ideal partner and we really loved working together. We trusted each other so much and we also had a lot of fun. Liz has one of the best senses of humor and we can go back and forth for days. That made the show really fun, because so much of Joe and Norma is this great back and forth they have in their dialogue.

Also in the cast as Max was the INCREDIBLE Walter Charles. This man is a legend and a sweetheart to boot. Also, I was back in Pittsburgh where I went to college and met my beautiful wife Kirsten. It was a perfect scenario. Kirsten, Liz and I are all doing a concert on December 3rd at the Kaufman Center along with the wonderful Josh Henry, Lewis Cleale and Betsy Wolfe. Here’s the link:…-of-musical-theater.

HT: Your wife Kirsten is quite a star herself, starring in the Broadway production of “Follies.” You and Kirsten performed this summer in the first of the annual “Sizzlin’ Summer Cabaret” series to amazing reviews, with one reviewer declaring “they hit a home run.” I’ve heard a lot about your December 3 cabaret show at the Kaufman Center in NYC. Your concert will be titled “Broadway Close Up: Lyricists Who Changed the World of Musical Theatre.”

MS: Yes, Kirsten is indeed one of the most talented and beautiful performers I know. She is so genuine onstage and off. She has had great success with Follies among other shows, and there is more exciting career news yet to come for her. But I can’t say what just yet.

As for our show that we created, we chose to tell “our story” and in doing so, we use songs that are special and personal to us. Our show is told entirely through song with no dialogue. It’s much less of a “cabaret” and more of an actual musical, minus the original songs. We wear mics instead of using handhelds. We enter and exit the stage and we tell an actual story, our story.

HT: What’s coming up after the December 3 show, Matt? What else would you like your “Jersey Boys” fans to know?

MS: I continue to do lots of concerts and private events throughout the city and all that info can be found at my website.

I am, however, very excited about the album I just recorded for PS Classics called “The Land Where The Good Songs Go: The Music of Jerome Kern.” It features Kate Baldwin, Heidi Blickenstaff and the incomparable Rebecca Luker among others and you can buy it at It comes out November 27th. I also just learned that I’ll go back into the studio to record for an upcoming Cole Porter/Noel Coward album based on another concert I did at the Kaufman Center just last year.

HT: Congratulations Matt on a busy schedule and well-deserved success. Before we close, Matt, you and I have a “small world” story. I have a tax practice during the winter, and as such, am approached by several financial advisers each year asking for client referrals. About 5 years ago, I received a cold call from such an adviser. As I was politely declining, he asked, “You’re a ‘Jersey Boys’ fan, right? Sounding exactly like Frankie when Gyp asks if he got his car back, I responded “yeah??.” “Well, I’m a friend of Matt Scott’s brother Ryan!!” The rest is history, Matt, and he’s now my main referral source!!

MS: Yeah, I remember when you first told me that story. I trust my bro gets a healthy commission!! (Laughs.)

Howard, I just want to thank you and all the JB fans who have made our show so special. You have all been so kind to me over the years, whether it be at the stage door, or sending me personal notes after a performance, or following my career after Jersey Boys. I can never replace the experience I had doing Jersey Boys, and it truly changed my life. And the fans are a large part of the reason the show remains so near and dear to my heart. Thank you.


  1. Howard, What a great interview! Matt and Kirsten are both sweethearts, as well as incredibly talented actors. So glad they continue to work consistently and have gained well deserved recognition.

    Comment by Pamela — November 26, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  2. Howard, great interview as always…but this one is close to my heart. I give all the credit to Matt for my love of Broadway today. I grew up in the south and had no interest in theatre. Mainly because my older sister was and I was tortured as a child having to see her perform…lol. So when I was visiting NY in June 2007, I was asked to go to a show. The only one I would even consider was Jersey Boys because of the music. Matt was on as Frankie that evening and Dominic Nolfi as Bob…with Christian Hoff and Bobby Spencer in their original roles. The night was so magical to me and was the beginning of many trips to NY and many Broadway shows. The stage door became the place to be and the Jersey Boys cast was and still is the greatest. Matt was always so gracious to his fans and it has been such a pleasure watching his career take off. Thanks Matt for giving the audience 100% every time. It is actors like you that make Broadway what it is. I look forward to following your continued success. Best of Luck!

    Comment by Carolyn — November 26, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

  3. Howard, you did it again! You always ask such poignant and thoughtful questions. I’m so happy for Matt as he is a very gifted actor and he always seems to be working! That alone should be a testament to his talent and his work ethic. I think he’s just great. Now let’s use your suave influence towards the Broadway powers-that-be to get “Ace” off the runway! That show seems to have great potential.

    Comment by Gary — November 28, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

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