Local Face: Matthew Thomas

  |  Published: Feb 1st 2011
Matthew Thomas

It doesn’t seem so long ago that a young nine year old Matthew James Thomas of Wendover first trod the boards on The London Palladium stage along with Barry Humphreys as “Fagin” in the second revival of “Oliver” in the West End. Thirteen years on, Matt has passed through a multitude of TV, film and theatre parts including “Whistle Down the Wind”; “Fame”; “Dorian Gray”; feature films “Billy Elliot” (he was the boy Billy knocked out at the audition!); “About A Boy”; the wonderful Stephen Poliakov TV drama “The Lost Prince”; episodes of “The Bill”; “Casualty”; “Britannia High” and most recently, the last episode of “Midsomer Murders starring John Nettles.

Now Matt faces his greatest challenge, and most exciting opportunity to date. Over 18 months ago the telephone call came to invite him to audition in New York for what was already being billed as the most expensive musical production in Broadway history ($65million!) “Spiderman – Turn Off The Dark”. A further visit to Las Vegas, training in Cirque de Soleil environments completed his audition and in July 2010 Matt moved to the Big Apple to begin rehearsals for the lead role of Peter Parker/Spiderman as alternate. Despite many setbacks, including a severe injury to one of the stunt team that support the show, (a real friend of Matt, who like everyone, is delighted he is making an unbelievably speedy recovery) the production is in final stages of preview performances with the formal main opening now rescheduled for 15 March.

Over Christmas in New York Matt took the lead in his second and third performance of the show. Although still in preview, several critics have already written about the show and appear very positive about his playing of the role. ShowBiz411 - “One of them was the incredibly talented Matthew James Thomas, who will alternate the lead role of Peter Parker with Reeve Carney. Thomas …., was outstanding in the Second Act …. The show’s big number, ‘Boy Falls from the Sky’, was thrilling on Sunday……Thomas is cut out for Broadway in a big way….”. Hollywood Life - “Plus, Matthew James Thomas, who played Spidey, looks like a young Clay Aiken and sings his songs with the passion and fever of a young Bono. Please include the link

Nothing can quite prepare one for Spiderman’s first aerial manoeuvre, as he flies from back to front of stage, then immediately soars to the front of the top circle balcony, to gasps from the packed 2000 theatre below. Such is the excitement in the auditorium. The show has brought Broadway to the very front edge of 21st century musical theatre. Matt is loving every minute of it and can't really believe he is at the absolute centre of such a pioneering venture, let alone working alongside such iconic figures as Taymor, Bono and Edge.

The show is currently playing to full houses at the Foxwoods Theatre, on 42nd Street just off Times Square. And you never know who is in the audience...Matt played to Jon Bon Jovi last week! Also the production team received the great news that box office receipts for the first week of January became number #1, beating the musical “Wicked “ into second place after a reign of over 3 years! Everything looks very positive for a great show business success. If by any chance any reader visits NYC during the next year, do drop in to the stage door and make yourself known to Matt. He would be delighted to see a Wendover face ! It’s not every day that Wendover has someone on the Big White Way !

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