The Elon campus knows him as the "Phantom." Now, Matt Shingledecker, a senior music theatre major, will learn another role - "Melchior" - as the Broadway understudy to a lead character in the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening.
Shingledecker, from Charleston, S.C., learned late last month of his selection. He will miss the last month of his senior year as he rehearses for his first performances in May.
“My personal goal was to be on Broadway before I was 25,” Shingledecker, 22, said this month as he prepared to move to New York City. “And right out of college I’m on Broadway. It’s unreal.”
Spring Awakening tells the story of “teenage self-discovery” in 1891 Germany. The performance is based on the Frank Wedekind play from the same year.
Shingledecker’s Elon credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Urinetown (Bobby Strong), Songs for a New World (Man #2), Company (Paul), Grief (Marc), Jekyll and Hyde, Carousel, Cabaret and Jane Eyre.
“Matt is an extraordinary student in the music theatre program. I’m thrilled for his success,” said performing arts professor Catherine McNeela, who directed Shingledecker in The Phantom of the Opera. “When that kind of opportunity comes knocking, you have to say ‘I’m there!’”
Shingledecker attributes his early success to the lessons he learned at Elon.
“It’s really every aspect of the program and all my professors,” Shingledecker said. “I’ve gotten so much better over the past four years. I don’t think I would have gotten this job without Elon. I owe so much to the school and to all my teachers and friends here.”
Professional credits include work at Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona, Fla., and Flatrock Playhouse in Hendersonville, N.C.
Among the productions at these two play houses and others: Joseph (Joseph), the first regional production of Bat Boy (Pan), the world premiere of Beneath the Sweet Grass Moon, Big River, Fiddler on the Roof, 1776 (Courier), Children of Eden, The Fantasticks (Matt), Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar, South Pacific (Lt. Cable understudy), Peter Pan and Meredith Monk’s Quarry.
Shingledecker also appeared in the Barflies promotional pilot for television. He is the recipient of the Perrine Music Theatre Scholarship Recipient and is a member of Alpha Psi Omega. Before coming to Elon, Shingledecker, son of Trudie and Roy Shingledecker, attended the Porter-Gaud School in South Carolina.
“You know what? I have to say, it still hasn’t hit me,” he said. “I’ve been thrown into this whirlwind of having an agent get me signed to a contract, moving out of school, all this stuff.”