Layton Teen Sings His Way To Broadway Stage

Jul 3, 2014

There’s no business like show business, and after a week performing on stage in New York City, a Layton student plans on turning musical theater into a career.

Performing on a Broadway stage is the dream for many theater students, but recent graduate of Northridge High School, Matthew Richards, has already had that experience.

After winning Best Actor in Utah’s regional competition, Richards participated in the National High School Musical Theater Awards, or Jimmy Awards, in New York City this past week. He won third place, $2,500 and the chance to sing a solo on a Broadway stage.

"I was just really honored to be chosen as a finalist. It was so cool to just stand there and be all alone on stage and just sing my heart out," he said.

About 50 other students participated in the week-long program. While the first few days consisted of group rehearsals in a black-box theater and solo performances for a panel of judges, the final performance was held Tuesday at the Minskoff Theater, currently used for Broadway’s The Lion King.

"It was really nerve-wracking at first, then I was just trying to really go at it in a very honest way. I don't know, I was just so thankful to be able to even have the opportunity to even be there," Richards said.

After the first act of the final performance, consisting of the group showcase, the final six soloists were announced and they then performed their pieces on the big stage.

"I was just so shocked and every one laughed at my face because I was just floored," he said. "And then I went up there and when we were walking off stage I turned around and made this crazy-weird face and people laughed at me because I was so just excited and nervous and I was kind of going crazy a little bit inside."

Richards said he has always been involved in musical theater and his family and high school directors, who all accompanied him to New York, support his decision to continue acting.

Richards plans on studying musical theater at Weber State University and wants to eventually end up on Broadway. He says the experience in New York helped him focus on perusing his dreams and taught him the steps he needs to take to once again be under the lights.