Sunday, July 15, 2007

My first case of Laryngitis

Yesterday I performed as Melchior in Spring Awakening. It was a thrilling day. A lot went right, and unfortunately...there were a lot of challenges along the way...

Friday, when performing a run through of our show, I noticed a very obnoxious twinge start to set into my throught. I tried to ignore it...but it soon became impossible to ignore. By the end of the run, I couldn't start coughing. I was sick. I had no idea how it happened or when it started...but it had happened.

I went out to dinner with the rest of the cast, trying to pretend there wasn't any problem at hand. I laughed and enjoyed my meal...but by the time the check had come I was starting to stress. I felt like crap. Simply put.

I went back to the theatre and was already starting to lose my voice. Now this was daunting to me. When I get sick, I don't typically lose my voice...I've sung through bronchitis and been relatively okay. This growing pain in my chest was sitting right on my chords. I called out of my first show (since I wasnt needed that night anyway) and decided to head home to get some rest.

I took some night time flu medication and passed out by 9 o'clock. Two hours later I woke up in quite a panic. The pain had gotten worse. There was a lot of pressure built up right underneath my larynx. I did everything I could to try to clear it up...but nothing was helping. I called my mother, very upset...this wasnt supposed to happen.

By the morning, my chords were unable to phonate past certain notes. I was so upset by the situation. I wanted my voice to be 100 % that day. It's always 100%. I had to be 100%...I was lucky if I was even going to get it to 20%.

I know a lot of the fans that came to see the show that day were wondering what was up. It was an interesting performance for me because I never thought I would have that challenge to face on top of everything else. ("Everything Else" meaning carrying the entire show!) I still don't think many people understood the extent of the problem I was facing...except for the people behind the scenes who knew my voice. The first performance was quite a struggle vocally...but I will say the challenge brought a lot out of me that I didn't expect. It made me focus in on the scenes and really make sure that everything else was indeed 100%.

I don't ever worry about my voice. This isn't meant to be an obnoxious statement...but I can always confidently trust that if the scene isn't there, the choreography screws up, or I drop a line...my voice will be there. "Left behind" is my favorite song to sing in the show because it sits so well in my voice...When it wasn't there at all during the matinee, I was, simply put, utterly heartbroken. I just couldn't believe laryngitis had hit me on the "big day."

I was precribed some basic things by a wonderful doctor who actually came to the theatre for the second performance and was able to get it back to about 25% vocal health. I just couldn't believe that I was faced with this challenge the day I went on. However...so many other things went right....

The cast was there for me and it was such a thrill to work with all of them. It was amazing to walk out on stage in that role. Even with the added challenge, something felt so natural about being in Melchior's shoes. It was such an honor to go on for Jonathan Groff (for whom I have nothing but respect) and it was such a thrll to play so much off of John Gallagher Jr. and Lea Michelle. There were a lot of fresh moments as well that surprised me and the rest of the cast. I was happy about so many moments in the show that it made the fact that my voice was so off a lot less heartbreaking.

So my voice was a wreck...Oh well. It's a rock show isn't it? haha. I was so honored to be up there, it was a success despite the heartbreak. That role lives so deepy inside of me, I have been yearning to play it since I first read the script. It was incredible to finally do the role. It was a thrill of a lifetime.

And now I have to say one more thing...I have to thank all of the fans who came to see me that day. The very idea that any of you made an effort to come was so beautiful to me. Some of you waited in the rush line overnight! That blows my mind! It's just so incredible. I WISH SO DEEPLY that I could have been in better health for you guys...but your support was perhaps the greatest part of the entire experience. After my first show, I was put on vocal rest by the stage manager and director and not allowed to talk...a good hour and a half must have passed and there was still so many of you waiting at the stage door. Despite my inability to talk, walking out there and greeting all of you was a moment I will never forget. I'll admit I'm a bit embarrassed at the prospect of bootleg recordings of my raspy-laryngitis-melchi but maybe I'll be able to laugh about after I go on next time...maybe ;). The gifts given to me, the words of encouragement...and the very fact that any of you came was just wonderful.

And as I have been informed, there will indeed be a next time...I will keep you all posted. I feel so blessed to be welcomed so fully into such a dedicated group of fans.

To all of my family and friends who came out to support me that day...Words cannot express how happy I was to see you all there. It was an honor to play to each and every one of you. Such a thrill!

Thank you to everyone for the support!

Much love,

Matt

11 Comments:

At 10:57 PM, Blogger ropedancer said...

Things are always as they are supposed to be . . . that you lost the one thing you count most on may have been a challenge, but not even laryngitis could hide your talent. And though you weren't allowed to talk after the matinee, maybe you were meant only to hear then-- to know that so many people loved seeing you as Melchior and supporting you as, well, Matt! I will never forget the gratitude in your eyes and the looks of love on your mom, dad and sister's faces.
Many hugs and congratulations.

 
At 12:04 AM, Blogger Emily said...

Matt - i'm impressed that you were able to still sound great with laryngitis! You're acting was totally brilliant and your voice (although you say it was only 25%) sounded 110%. I wanted to thank you for coming to the stage door even when you couldn't talk so that everyone could congratulate you. You are one of the most gracious, talented and kind people i've ever met. If that was you sick, than I can't wait to see you play Melchior healthy! Keep the fans updated! All the best.

 
At 1:39 AM, Blogger Jeremiah said...

Matt-
Thank you very much for wonderfully performing for us, albeit your condition. I'd echo the former comment- if that was you sick, then I can't wait to see you play Melchior again! For being more than gracious and quietly appreciating your audience after the matinee, big thanks. Good luck on your future endeavors and all the best, Matt.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Alicia said...

I can't WAIT to see Mattchior. :)

There are so many things I love about live theatre. Especially the fact that a change in a cast member or a challenge like laryngitis can bring out different nuances in a performance.

I'm glad to hear you'll be going on again and I will keep my ear to the ground for the next time.

Until then, focus on getting yourself better and appreciating the twist and turns of the theatrical life.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Bekah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger Bekah said...

Trust me Matt, you couldn't have been better. There were moments in the show where you completely blew Jonathan Groff's performances out of the water. You were so honest and believable. There were moments that had I never cried during when Mr. Groff was on, but your performance broke me down, especially the grave yard scene. I had no idea you were sick, and I can only imagine how wonderful you would've been with a full voice. It is also very sweet that you appreciate and thank your fans. I've only stage-doored once, but I can proudly say that the cast is one of the most humble and kind I've ever had the pleasure to meet. I look foward to stage-dooring again in the future.

Keep up the wonderful work, and I hope to get to see you as Melchi again!

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger sondra said...

i hope you feel better!

~sondra~

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger cbragg07 said...

Matt,
You were AMAZING as Melchior! It was totally worht coming all the way from Iowa for! I agree with what others have said, if that was 25% I can't wait to hear 100% b/c you were truly wonderful! Your performance of Left Behind made me cry! I'm hopefully coming back this winter in like January, I hope I get to see you perform again! You are such a great guy! Thanks for coming out to stage door when you were sick! Enjoy the mug!
The fan who mugged you,
Caitlin

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger ruthlym said...

Matt, you are such a lovely person -- no one deserves success more than you!

Mindy was so happy that she got to see you last weekend. She told me that you were great, in spite of your problem with your voice. She said that probably only the people who knew your voice well could tell that there was something not 100% about it. It sounds as if you really rose to the occasion!

I am so sorry that I couldn't have been there also. And I am sorry I missed seeing your parents and the great pride and joy that they must have been feeling. My love to you and to them.

Ruth

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Brittanyy said...

hey matt its Brittany Peterson I dont really know how to get a hold of you but me and caitlin are in NY and we leave thursday but my mom just read the marin IJ article to me and i just wanted to say congrats on everything that is amazing. i dont know if you are performing this week but if you are let me know i would love to see you! give me a call if you get this or
at 415-336 0403 or email me at BPeterso@smu.edu

 
At 3:06 AM, Blogger Bryce said...

Matt

ok so my mom can't know this...but i was in ny last weekend with my boyfreind and we happened to see spring awakening, and i opened the program and i saw your lovely face and i freaked out. you know i think you're amazing. keep singing my friend, i miss you.

love,
Jacqui Morgan

 

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