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BWW Interviews: Matt Shingledecker Talks his Role as Fiyero in WICKED

Matt Shingledecker has been performing most of his life and loving every minute of it. From the time he got his first paying show at age 16, Matt has been hooked. Matt is currently playing Fiyero in the touring company of Wicked and has been loving every minute of it. Broadway World caught up with Matt not too long ago and he shared his feelings about his new role as Fiyero and what led up to this moment.

Tell us a little more about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school?

I am from Charleston, South Carolina originally. I grew up there. I went to a school called Porter-Gaud until I went to college. I did some stuff regionally and did some community theater there. There is an amazing theater festival called Spoleto in Charleston and an incredible theatre company called Charleston Theatre Company that I worked at growing up. Those were some of my big inspirations along with school. I ended up going to Elon University for Musical Theater in North Carolina and I studied there for 4 years and I got very, very, very lucky and ended up hitting Spring Awakening my last semester of my senior year and they ended up hiring me on my spring break. I left early. I finished school online and I started with Spring Awakening then.

What are some of your favorite shows other than Wicked that you have done?

The 3 shows I've done sort of Broadway/off-Broadway have been incredible. First one being Spring Awakening was amazing because it was my first big thing so there was something really special about that. Actually, here on tour on Wicked for a week I got to do shows with Lilli Cooper who was the original Martha in Spring Awakening. And we had gotten to do Spring Awakening; I was in the original cast for Spring Awakening. I ended up replacing somebody and we got to work together I think for about 3 months. She's going off to do Three Penny Opera at the Atlantic but we joked that every 5 years or so we'll do a show together for a month or so and then we'll see each other in 5 years. That was a pretty cool experience. West Side Story was incredible because Arthur Laurents was the director and to work with a director and writer of that magnitude, the ones who wrote such an incredible piece was life changing for me. He featured me in his book before he passed away as well. That experience was amazing because it was my dream role West Side Story when I was a kid I always wanted to do that role. I loved the music and that was pretty cool. Then soon after that I got to do the revival of Rent off-Broadway. And sort of the cool thing that I noticed in my career that I'm very thankful for as I've had a wide variety of roles and styles. I think West Side Story is completely classical. Spring Awakening is folk rock and Rent is Kurt Cobain, that kind of style. And Wicked is contemporary music theater and I've just been very lucky being able to bounce around from style to style.

When did you get the role of Fiyero?

I booked Fiyero a little bit before Thanksgiving. I was doing this underground show called Dani Girl. It's an invite only theater company called Exit, Pursued by a Bear. I was doing a little 4 person musical and I was auditioning for a bunch of things. I went in for the role a couple of times and got the feedback that I was too young. They kept bringing me back in and saying I was too young. I guess this go around I wasn't too young. It was good for me because the show I did ended in early December so I got to take a really nice vacation. I went to visit my old grandparents' place in Portland with my dad and we got to have some amazing father/son bonding time in Portland. I went to Miami to visit my girlfriend who's shooting a movie. Got to go home for the holidays and then got to go back to New York before I started this new adventure. It was perfect timing because in the past I've gotten roles last minute where I had to drop everything I was doing and go. I was in LA when I got Rent and I had 3 or 4 days before I had to fly out to New York and start rehearsals. It was really nice to know you had a job coming up. That's not always so it was nice to have that time where I knew I would have something and be able to go and take a bit of a respite from it all.

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Kathy Strain Kathy Strain spent most of her life outside of Philadelphia and has enjoyed Broadway shows for most of her life. Kathy moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2001 with her husband Ken and 3 children. She holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Texas at San Antonio and runs her own Public Relations company. She loves to contribute pieces on the arts to several outlets and enjoys writing about talent and sharing it with the world.


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