West Side Story star Matt Doyle told us his Tony was vulnerable, but after seeing him in the marvelous Paper Mill production, we can report his Tony is also strong, passionate, heartbreaking, and extremely well-sung.
BroadwayBox caught up with the Spring Awakening and Book of Mormon alum, recording artist, and author to talk about the show, his literary inspiration, and his side gig as a trainer.
1. What’s your first memory of West Side Story?
My first memory of West Side Story is watching the movie with my sisters. Musical theatre was introduced to me a bit later—I was 12 or 13 and Rent was my first show. Then we went through a phase where we went back and watched all the classics, everything possible. I remember watching [West Side] with my sisters for the first time thinking, ‘Oh, this is a cool musical.’ This is my first time doing the show. I never did it in high school or middle school. Some people know every note and every move, so it’s amazing for me to step in and just try to soak it all up because I’m not as familiar with it as everyone else.
2. Your and Beth Behrs YA comic Dents is blowing up right now. What book were you obsessed with when you were a young reader?
The book I was obsessed with growing up is called Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It’s a fantasy sci-fi novel, and he’s inspired me so much as a writer. I’m really into stories that mix as many strange elements into one thing. It’s so exciting when you put a bit of offbeat color into it—like it’s not just this gritty sci-fi piece, it’s also whimsical and strange and there’s magic in there too. Melding genres together excites me.
3. What’s the last thing you bought online?
The last thing I bought online was Adidas sweatpants because all these [West Side Story] boys were wearing them and I couldn’t find my size. I was like, ‘I like those sweatpants; they make all those dancer boys’ butts look good. I need to get myself a pair.’ That’s a true story.
4. Tell me about a TV show you’re really into right now.
The Night Manager on AMC. It’s six episodes and it’s fantastic. The acting is unbelievable on it. I absolutely love it. It’s a more sophisticated James Bond.
5. What was it about Barry’s Bootcamp that made you say, “I’m going to do this, and go full-force into it as a trainer.”?
A friend of mine went onto Facebook when he became a trainer at Barry’s and put up his headshot picture—and I’d gotten really into fitness at that point—and I thought, ‘That’s amazing. He got certified, and he’s a trainer now. I claim to know so much about fitness and talk about it all the time and feel like a bit of a fraud (‘cause I’m still like a twig and I know that). I want to do this.’ So I wrote on his wall, ‘I want to work there! Haha” The manager contacted me the next day and said, ‘We actually would love it if you were interested.’ I wasn’t busy that winter and if I’m going to do this I’m going to do it now. I love it. I could go back whenever I want. My dream is to get another contract in the Broadway scene and teach there a couple times a week because I really enjoy it.
Hurry to Paper Mill Playhouse before June 26 to see Matt Doyle in ‘West Side Story’.