PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Rent Star Matt Shingledecker

By Matthew Blank
03 Jan 2012

Matt Shingledecker
Matt Shingledecker

Matt Shingledecker, currently starring as Roger in the Off-Broadway production of Rent, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Shingledecker has appeared on Broadway in West Side Story (Tony) and Spring Awakening.

He holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University. Visit www.mattshingledecker.com.



Full given name: Matthew Kern Shingledecker

Where you were born/where you were raised: Charleston, SC
Zodiac Sign:Aries
What your parents did/do for a living:My dad owns a company dealing with electronics and calibrations. He was also in the Navy, and did private contracting with them after he left. Fun fact, he used to own an arcade.



My mom works as the Asst. to the Director of Anatomic Pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Current audition song/monologue: The last audition song I used was "All I Need Is the Girl" from Gypsy, which has been in my book for many years.

The last audition monologue I used was from Amadeus as Mozart, but that was over a year ago. I rarely get asked to do monologues. It's usually sides.

Special skills: I can clap with one hand. Take that Zen!
Something you're REALLY bad at: Most things.
First Broadway show you ever saw: The 42nd Street revival with my mom during my college search.
If you could go back in time and catch any performance, what would it be? At this very moment it would have to be the original cast of Rent.
Recent show you have been recommending to friends: I saw Newsies. I have a bunch of friends in it, and I absolutely loved it.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Soliloquy" from Carousel
Some favorite musicals: Light in the Piazza
Rent
Spring Awakening
West Side Story
Stage or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: So many stars have been around for awhile and continue to grace the stage with their presence. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to work with one of them. I am so grateful that I was able to work with the legend, Arthur Laurents.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: When I saw Spring Awakening, knowing that I would be on that very stage in just a few short weeks making my Broadway debut.
Your personal vocal idols: Any genre can strike a chord in ourselves if it's the right song at the right moment.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: David Phelps and Jeff Buckley
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: Jeff Buckley is getting a lot of attention lately. "Grace" and "Hallelujah."
Most-visited websites: Any food-of-the-day website. I built my own, but don't go on it.
Favorite Tweeters: @BwayBites
Last book you read: "Kitchen Confidential"
Must-see TV shows: "Breaking Bad"
"24"
"Dexter"
Last good movie you saw: Random, but "Girl Interrupted"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: I'm carrying a bit too much to drop everything.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Give me a good viral video any day.
Favorite cities: New York City, Los Angeles, and Charleston, SC, but only because I've lived in all three.

The truth is, every city has its charms. You just have to figure out where to look for them. Learned that on the Spring Awakening tour in 45 cities as well as studying abroad in London for a spell.

Favorite sport/team/player: UFC's GSP. If you would have caught me a couple of months ago I might have said the Yankees.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Hootie & The Blowfish
Greatest Band of All Time Beatles
First stage kiss: Playing Tom Sawyer in the 6th grade.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: First was the Caboose in The Little Engine That Could. In the 3rd grade I was Bubble Gum Bart in the smash hit Christmas At The O.K. Corral (I got to chew gum during school so I could practice blowing bubbles). Piglet in Winnie the Pooh in the 6th grade. Need I continue?
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: After getting paid to do a regional production of Bat Boy the Musical as Pan. Nothing's better than getting paid to do what you love. Everyone should strive for it and know that it's never impossible.
How you got your Equity card: I was an EMC member for a few years before getting my card for Spring Awakening on Broadway.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Before the show, Donna Belle's next to New World Stages. After the show, Casellula.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Sweet tea... duh. I'm also a big coffee guy. I also love good craft beer and wine.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Tea, coffee or apple cider (something hot) and lots of water. And I always have to eat something.

My vocal and physical warm up is pretty uninteresting, but right before I go on, I like to listen to music that gets me into the character and put myself in his shoes before I ever even step out onstage.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Knock on wood, haven't had a bad one in my professional career.
Worst costume ever: Well, let's just say that though I love them now, but the pants I wear in Rent wouldn't have been my first choice after my costume fitting.

If you haven't seen the show... they're tight.

Most memorable bleacher audience interaction (in Spring Awakening) or stage door moment: This was a horrible memory, but on tour in a city I can't remember, a kid was listening to his iPod on stage so loudly that it was audible during quiet moments in the second half. I very quietly, politely, but firmly, told him to put it away.
When and where did you first see Rent? On tour in Charleston, then once on Broadway. The first time I was too young, and it went over my head.

I loved it on Broadway, but doing the piece has been more personally life-changing than anything else I've ever done. Its message is, in my opinion, the most important theme ever to be successfully executed in the music theatre. A bold statement I know, but I truly believe it.

Some favorite screen or commercial gigs: "Blue Bloods" was a blast because I got to work with the choreographer of Urinetown. (I had the honor of playing Bobby Strong in college.) And we shot at the Waldorf Astoria. Fun fact: Originally I was going to wear a kilt.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Fabrizio in Light in the Piazza
Leading lady role you wish you could play: Girls have cooties.
Something about you that surprises people: I don't know. I strive to be an open book.
Something you are incredibly proud of: My circle of friends and family.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I have done many things in my life that I'm embarrassed to admit, but they were very necessary to get me where I am right at this very moment.
Career you would want if not a performer: Anything having to do with food and drink.
Three things you can't live without: I love too many things.
"I'll never understand why…" ... some people don't strive to be better. I know that everyone no matter how great or small is always doing the best they know how, but the knowledge that we are all flawed and will never be perfect is never an excuse not to try and be better.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Work as hard as you can without ever punishing yourself, because every effort is a triumph.