Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Spotlight On...Rachel Goodgal

Name: Rachel Goodgal

Hometown: Wyckoff, NJ

Education: Middlebury College – BA in theatre, minors in math & French

Select Credits: PTP/NYC’s The Castle, Diwata in Speech & Debate, Olive in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Why theater?: Theatre is a very special kind of storytelling because the audience shares the characters’ physical space. I think the inherent community of theatre creates a special kind of intimacy between audience members and performers and allows unique forms of empathy, sympathy, and joy to occur. I also love the spontaneity of live performance – it’s a thrill both to create and to watch.

Who do you play in Matt & Ben?: I play a young Ben Affleck, as imagined by playwrights Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers.

Tell us about Matt & Ben: Matt & Ben is basically long form sketch comedy. It’s built on a comedic premise – the simple fact that women are playing Matt Damon and Ben Affleck shows that the play doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s all about the humor and the joy we can bring to the audience.

What is it like being a part of Matt & Ben?: It’s a delight. The show is built for goofing around, and it’s so much fun to show up to rehearsal and see how I can act truthfully while also “bro-ing out.”

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love theatre that draws me into the characters’ world. I want to believe that they are real people, and I want their situation to capture my attention completely. If I leave the theatre debating a character’s dilemma, feeling emotionally connected to the characters, or with my face hurting from laughing and smiling so much, I probably loved the show.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’m obsessed with Katha in Maple & Vine by Jordan Harrison. The part is too old for me right now, but it’s a dream for the future. I’d also love to play Penny in Hairspray and pretty much any role in The Sound of Music or Spring Awakening.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I can’t possibly pick! One song that comes to mind that can make me cry when I just listen to the recording is “When You’re Home” from In the Heights. I find musical theatre so powerful.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Julie Andrews

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original Broadway The Sound of Music with Mary Martin

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Besides Matt & Ben,  you mean? I loved Hedwig, though I haven’t seen it with Taye Diggs.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Jersey Shore fudge. But I don’t really feel guilty about it.

What’s up next?: I have no idea! Hopefully another show that allows me to play as much as this one does.

For more on Rachel, visit For more on Matt & Ben and West of 10th, visit