Event: ArtsWest AfterHours w/Matt Owen (host Mathew Wright)
Date: March 7, 2016
Location: Seattle, WA @ ArtsWest
AfterHours is a series put on by ArtsWest with the intent to showcase local talents of theatre actors. I had always hoped that there would be an outlet for them to just sing showtunes (much like Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York). Sadly, I was unaware this was going on until the current series “Four Gents & A Lady” was announced.
The host of the series is Mathew Wright (the artistic director of ArtsWest) who interviews his guests and serves as their pianist.
Tonight’s guest was Matt Owen. He’s had recently come back from his travels in Bangkok so he did not have much time to rehearse. Matt did grow up in Kirkland, WA though and got into theatre with exposure from his mother and got the acting bug when accompanying his sister to acting class. A sampling of his theatre credits include Anything Goes (his first professional acting gig at the 5th Avenue Theatre), Oklahoma, A Room With A View (which became the source of many jokes between Mathew and Matt due to his having to be nude in the role), Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, and of course Elf where he starred as Buddy.
Matt’s approximated setlist:
- I REALLY REALLY LOVE YOU (STALKER) – by Paul Loesel & Scott Burkell
- NEVER NEVER LAND – from Peter Pan
- RAINBOW CONNECTION – from the Muppet Movie. Matt sung this partially as Kermit the Frog. He also shared that he was a big fan of the Muppets and even named his cars after them.
- MY BEST GIRL – from Mame. Matt shared a fun factoid that the actor, Nick Robinson, who played the younger version of him in this show went on to star in Jurassic World.
- IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT – from Hello, Dolly!. I found this fitting to his character mold as he seems to usually play the “lovable idiot” types. Wright mentioned that Michael Crawford was also such a performer before Phantom of the Opera came along. He was even in the film version of Hello, Dolly!.
- MARY’S A GRAND OLD NAME – from Yankee Doodle Dandy
- TRAVELIN’ MAN – a Ricky Nelson cover. I have to add that Matt shared the craziest story from his travels, which were a little TMI (Too Much Information) to be mentioned on this blog. It just involved NYC, Time Square, pizza, long flight to London, and new socks.
- I’LL BE SEEING YOU – a Billie Holiday cover
- MADELINE – from Jacques Brel
- BACHELOR’S DANCE – from Jacques Brel
- COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS / MOON RIVER – a Bing Crosby / Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer cover
- RUNAROUND SUE – Dion cover
During the show we also learned that Matt performed the role of Buddy the Elf with a gummy bear under his tongue. Apparently he really loves them (as do I). However, when he had to diet for his role in A Room With A View he could only open the bag and smell them “like a crack addict.”
Mathew borrowed James Lipton’s Inside The Actors Studio Questionnaire. Most of the responses somehow ended up revolving around “poop.”
It’s been awhile since Matt has been on the stage in Seattle, but he does have a project going on called Anywhere But Fargo. It’s a socially driven travel show. Viewers can vote for where Matt and his friends go, what they do, and propose challenges. It’s all fun and hilarious. If you want to see those go visit the Anywhere But Fargo YouTube channel. Matt also has Matt’s Travel Tips to help other wanderlusters get around a variety of cities. To start interacting visit: www.facebook.com/anywherebutfargo/
The evening was hilarious and had many sincere moments as well. This was a nice way to showcase Matt’s singing chops as well as to learn more about him as a performer. One takeaway for budding performers: Acting is the most important, and without it the other skills (singing and dancing) don’t matter as much if you can’t convincingly do it.
There you go kids!
(my Matt Owen dream casting is to have him as anyone in Book of Mormon)