Friday, January 6, 2017

Spotlight On...Matthew Hazen

Name: Matthew Hazen

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Education: New World School of the Arts High School, Musical Theatre Concentration
Syracuse University, B.F.A. in Musical Theatre

Select Credits: RENT (Restaurant Man/Paul, Syracuse Stage); I Love You Because (Austin, Syracuse Mainstage); Hello, Dolly (Cornelius, Granbury Opera House); Pippi Longstocking (Officer Klang, Actor’s Playhouse); A New Brain (Roger, Syracuse Mainstage); Web Series: "3rd Wheel" (Dustin), "Datebook" (Willy)

Why theater?: While I love both the theatre and film/tv, there’s nothing that beats the raw and vulnerable feeling that theatre provides.  While film captures close-up, perfected moments, theatre is about the rehearsal and the work.  When you see a live performance, there’s something new, spontaneous, and in the moment happening before you, end yet that performance has been crafted through weeks (and sometimes months) of intricate work in rehearsals.  Theatre is all about presenting a finished piece that is alive and changes.  You can see one show dozens of times, and though the actors will be speaking the same text and moving on the same cues, each performance will feel special and unique.

Who do you play in Dragon Slayer?: I play Lenny, an unintentionally self-absorbed writer in NYC. He desperately wants his show to be a hit, and see his name in lights.

Tell us about Dragon Slayer: Dragon Slayer is the story of a waiter named Lenny, attempting to write the next great Broadway musical (aptly titled “Dragon Slayer”)…  but while his lousy show takes priority in his life, he loses his grip on the things that matter.

What is it like being a part of Dragon Slayer?: This is my first experience originating a role in a new musical.  It has been an exciting and creatively fulfilling adventure helping craft this piece, and being a part of bringing this fun story to life.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I’m a big fan of musical comedies with a firm center in real emotional life.  I love a show that revels in the silliness of characters breaking into song, but honors the real feelings of those characters. I’m inspired by artists who can tell captivating stories.  I’m particularly enthralled by long form story-telling, as has especially become popular with serialized tv dramas with thrilling cliff-hangers and plot twists.  I’m a sucker for an adventure.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’d be thrilled to some day play Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.  I’m a huge fan of that show’s dark comedy.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Oof, that’s tough one.  I have like 100.  But I’ve found myself lately listening to “For Now” from Avenue Q quite a lot.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would have to say Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson - their show "Broad City" is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  I would love to get to know how their brains work.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I think maybe Justin Long.  The movie would be called “I Dunno, What Do You Feel Like Eating?”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would kill to see the ’92 revival of Guys and Dolls with Faith Prince and Nathan Lane.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I INSIST every single person I know see Book of Mormon.  I’ve seen it three times.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I love binge watching a good suspenseful dramatic tv show.  I love losing myself in a story that keeps on going, or that reveals itself to have deeper meaning as the series continues…  Some of my absolute favorites include: “LOST,” “Breaking Bad,” “Battlestar Gallactica,” “House of Cards,” “24,” “Game of Thrones…” the list continues from there to get embarrassingly long.

What’s up next?: I’ll be releasing my new 12-episode web series, “3rd Wheel,” this February!  It’s something I wrote, produced, and acted in, and have been working on for 2 years.  I’m thrilled to share it with the world, and hopefully make many people laugh with it!  You can catch all the episodes on our website, www.3rdWheelSeries.com, or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/3rdWheelSeries.

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