Age & Hometown: 23; Saugerties, NY
Current Role: A sweet and funny off-Broadway debut as Chad, romantic leading man and expert interpreter of 1970s pop hits, in the musical parody Disaster!
Small-Town Boy: Head 100 miles up the Hudson River from Manhattan, and you’ll hit the leafy village of Saugerties, where Matt Farcher’s parents own the breakfast shop Lox of Bagels. A talented athlete, young Matt dreamed of attending college on a baseball scholarship, but changed his mind after wowing the crowd with his rendition of “Bring Him Home” in a high school production of Les Miserables. “Singing came naturally, so I made a gut decision to apply to musical theater programs,” he recalls. Accepted at Pace University, he learned how to audition and navigate life in New York while earning a BFA at “a great place that’s not cookie-cutter,” he says. “I made a nice, eclectic group of friends.”
Don’t Bring Him Down: By graduation, Farcher had been cast as Gaston in a tour of Beauty and the Beast, but his fast rise had a potentially serious hiccup when he was stricken with a life-threatening auto-immune illness. Luckily, the disease was correctly diagnosed on a tour stop in Houston, and after a month in the hospital, he returned home to recover. “Everything is fine now,” Farcher says. “I got really lucky.” Good thing, since he soon headed to Arkansas Rep to play bad boy Dick in a musical version of Treasure Island, followed by a summer stint in Maine as Curly in Oklahoma! “I loved being a cowboy with the hat and the guns and the chaps,” he says with a laugh. Next stop: off-Broadway.
Hooked on a Feeling: In the nutty musical mashup that is Disaster!, Farcher and Haven Burton play a dewy-eyed couple caught the middle of mayhem, singing ’70s hits like “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Baby Hold on to Me” and the immortal “Alone Again, Naturally.” After catching up on classic disaster movies, “I watched Airplane and Cheyenne Jackson in 30 Rock to get a feel for this type of comedy,” he explains. The biggest challenge? Keeping a straight face in scenes with Mary Testa, Jennifer Simard and Seth Rudetsky. “It’s like doing SNL every night,” Farcher says, “and we have just as much crazy fun offstage, singing backup and doing stupid dances.” Going forward, “Broadway would be amazing,” the young actor admits, “but I take things one step at a time. I have a pretty cool job right now.”