Local Theater Productions, Community 'Lit Spark' For Northbrook Native

NORTHBROOK, IL — Matt Rodin said his origin story with regard to becoming an actor is not unique. The Northbrook native said his parents saw early on that he was a performer, often insisting everyone at family gatherings sit and watch the show he was putting on.

“But I think the spark was really lit in 1997 at Glenbrook South’s production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,'” Rodin recently told Patch.

Rodin, a 2010 graduate of Glenbrook North, can be seen starting Oct. 31 in “Company,” showing through Nov. 12 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, before the show goes on a national tour.

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Rodin said not long after seeing the GBS show, he was performing in the Northbrook Children’s Theater and Lake Forest Children’s Theater.

“Some of my more memorable performances included a toothless Tevye in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ and a pre-pubescent and slightly flamboyant Harold Hill in ‘The Music Man,'”

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In “Company,” Rodin plays the role of Jamie, who he describes as a “queer anxious groom,” who performs a panic attack-inspired song, “Getting Married Today.” Rodin said the song is “one of the most memorable in all of the musical theater cannon.”

“Which is to say, I feel deeply grateful to be able to share that song and our little messy queer love story with audiences every night,” Rodin said. “The show is hilarious (if I do say so myself) and hopefully leaves people with questions about what partnership and love and marriage mean to them.”

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“Company” is a musical comedy about partnership, love, marriage and New York City, according to Rodin. The show follows “Bobbi,” who’s celebrating her 35th birthday, as she navigates her relationships with her friends, the men in her life, and most importantly herself and her own hopes and wishes.

“When ‘Company’ premiered on Broadway in 1970, it was the first of its kind,” Rodin said. “Rather than a linear plot, ‘Company’ explores themes and relationships through scenes and songs that almost function as vignettes that Bobbi traverses through.”

Rodin said the show has been “brilliantly re-conceived” for modern audiences by director Marianne Elliot. One major change is that in the original show, “Bobby” is a man, while in the new show, “Bobbi” is a woman. In addition, Rodin said many gender roles have been swapped of other characters in the show.

Rodin said he loved growing up in Northbrook and feels “incredibly privileged” to have had access to many performance opportunities from a young age. He grew up playing youth hockey, where he learned about teamwork and dedication, which have both helped in his acting career.

“As a proud choir nerd and theater geek, I saw first hand how powerful the arts can be for someone growing up, trying to learn about themselves,” Rodin said. “Above all else, the arts community provides a safe space for young people to figure out what they believe and who they want to become.”

Among the early acting highlights for Rodin was performing in “Rent” at Glenbrook North, a show enjoyed by his family and friends his senior year of high school in 2010.

Rodin notes that before leaving for college at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (2014 graduate), he had no professional theater experience and credits local theater and performing arts programs for setting him on his path.

After college, Rodin also performed in “Rent” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, “Hair” at the Weston Theater Company in Weston, Vermont, and “Mass” at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Rodin and “Company” will embark on a national tour after leaving Chicago. He said performing at the Cadillac is a “dream come true.”

“And I really mean it. I grew up seeing every national tour that came through Chicago, dreaming that one day I’d be able to perform on this stage for my own family, friends, and the Chicago community at large,” Rodin said. “To be here, now, doing this show, playing a queer role, is beyond anything I could have possibly imagined for myself.”

Rodin, who has lived in New York for the past 10 years, said “Company” will keep him busy through next year. When the show concludes, Rodin said he is looking forward to returning to NYC to be with his husband, Sam, and their dog, Penny.

“As for what opportunities might lie ahead, I have been surprised every step of the way and I don’t expect the future to be much different,” Rodin said. “I cannot wait to see how this story continues to unfold.”

To learn more about “Company,” purchase tickets and more, visit here.

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