Matt Doyle and Allison Scagliotti Bring Life to the Afterlife in Off-Broadway's Jasper in Deadland

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01 Apr 2014

Matt Doyle
Matt Doyle
Photo by Matthew Murphy

Stage actor Matt Doyle and screen actress Allison Scagliotti are the conflicted teenagers who venture through the underworld in Ryan Scott Oliver and Hunter Foster's Jasper in Deadland, which plays the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in its Off-Broadway premiere.


Matt Doyle and Allison Scagliotti, fresh off their March 26 opening night of Prospect Theater Company's Jasper in Deadland, sat down at a midtown-area Starbucks the next day and recounted their post-show karaoke excursions.

"Last night, she just left!" Doyle explained. "She does this thing that my friend said, 'That might be the greatest party trick I've ever seen in my life.' She knows every single word and performs the hell out of [Digital Underground's] 'The Humpty Dance.'"

"Here's the deal," revealed Scagliotti. "I'm so hesitant to share this with the world, but the thing is, I've been doing it for a few years, and it is my signature. I desperately don't want anyone to steal it, but I'm sure I'm not the only person in the universe that does this… I didn't think you could sing at karaoke and just be an 'okay' singer. You're either an amazing singer or you're terrible. And, I thought, 'My way around that is I'm going to rap,' and I happen to be kind of great at it. So, I chose this song that's old and a crowd-pleaser, and my other signature move is that I drop the mic, and I leave. I must leave. That is my way I punctuate doing that song… You don't do that and then hang around to talk about it afterwards. You have to like…let people process it."

Doyle and Scagliotti, who have become fast friends in Jasper in Deadland — bonding over karaoke, dance moves and originating a role in a New York City musical — co-star as the teenage Jasper and his newfound (otherworldly) friend Gretchen, respectively, in the new Off-Broadway musical. When Jasper's best friend Agnes falls to her death, he journeys into the underworld to save her life. Stroke by stroke, they aim to make it out alive.

"Walking into rehearsal the first day, [I] was more nervous than I have ever been in my entire career," admitted Scagliotti, "because it was a challenge that I never faced before." Deadland is Scagliotti's first musical endeavor, having performed in film and TV (Disney's "Drake & Josh," SyFy's "Warehouse 13") since age 11.

"It is my first musical, but my relationship with musicals began when I was a small child in Louisiana, completely on the outskirts of my social group and not feeling fulfilled by anything else. My parents took me to see the touring company of Phantom of the Opera in 1997 at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, and I'll never forget it. I remember so vividly being brought home with a giant Phantom mask on my tiny seven-year-old face and running around trying to belt all the songs from the show," she said. "Just a few years ago, I was living here [and] going to NYU, and I went to see American Idiot, which was the first musical I'd seen in years, and it bit me again… I was overwhelmed by how natural and familiar it felt, and I immediately just thought, 'Oh, God. I have to go home. I have to do this again.'"


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