You’re a Big Deal: Matthew James Thomas from Broadway’s “Pippin”
Exclusive interview with Matthew James Thomas from Broadway’s “Pippin”
WBD: What sparked your interest in musical theatre and how did you get started?
I’ve felt a connection to the arts for as long as I can remember. My parents kept my options open and encouraged discipline in drama and music. I auditioned for TV and film as a kid and had some luck. As I did more and more I realized I couldn’t get enough.
WBD: Tell us what has been your most memorable moment on stage?
There have been quite a few. Most recently, I was so busy trying to understand a scene (as it is Pippin’s first time playing the role) and my line is supposed to be “Father” but I for some reason shouted “Pippin” instead. Terry (who plays my father) quickly responded with “no I’m Father – you’re Pippin.” That should stay with me for a while!
WBD: Who are your biggest broadway influences?
I couldn’t possibly only mention one or two. I am consistently inspired and re-inspired by the brave, daring and incredible people in this business.
WBD: How was the audition process for Pippin?
It was pretty straight forward, but nonetheless mind-blowing and exciting. I read the script and I was so intrigued about this play within a play format that seemed to involve or suggest a real time connection with the audience. It had this Shakespearean epic-ness almost purposefully and ironically disguised within its own theatricality. Stephen Schwartz’s music has such a deeply intuitive relationship with the story that it was huge kick to audition for him, Diane Paulus and all the team. It was thrilling of course!
WBD: Tell us one of the coolest things that’s happened in your career so far.
Sharing the studio space in a real way with Bono and Edge can never be snared at. It’s hard to explain how brilliant they are – well actually no it isn’t. I just got their new single “Invisible” and I’m like “wait … did I actually work with these guys.” But truly I get the same rush from just going to work everyday. It’s hard to explain just what goes into a show or any project – but there is so much understated brilliance, everywhere.
WBD: What is your favourite number from Pippin?
“Glory” – It’s like being whisked back into the smokey 70’s streets of New York. The orchestrations are simply awesome and it’s just, well, kick ass really.
WBD: Who would you love to work with and why?
I’m a little superstitious, so I don’t want to jinx anything. I love working with people who are as passionate about this art-form as I am.
WBD: What advice do you have for aspiring broadway stars?
Work hard, be who you are at all costs, and love and cherish your friends and family.
WBD's Fun Five
with Matthew James Thomas
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?Other than where I love living now ... Andorra, so I could ski everyday.
If I gave you $20 to spend on anything right now, what would it be?Ear muffs, because I just lost mine.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.I'm not sure if it's all that surprising, at least it won't be to anyone reading this who knows me or whom participated in this escapade, but my friends and I once wrapped me up in black trash bags and threw me out of the passenger seat at Tesco's. Looking back I'm not so proud of this event (I promise I'm not a complete yob). Regardless, I'm telling you now anyway. So I'm laying there motionless on the ground between the automatic doors which keep trying to close on my foot and my friends have sped off. The security guard approached and poked me about three times. I left it a little longer before he said rather amusingly "are you alive" and I then suddenly got up screaming and ran around the superstore chasing him. I was 13 ... you live and learn. I do not advise you to do this.
What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?Stop smoking cigarettes and keep listening to your parents...
One guilty pleasure you aren't willing to give up?Cadbury chocolate - because it is impossible to give it up.
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