Behind the scenes with ONCE cast member Matt DeAngelis

When she yanked him from atop the living room coffee table at the ripe old age of eight, Matt DeAngelis’ mother knew exactly what she was doing when she dragged him “kicking and screaming” out the door and to the theater.  From then on, Matt’s been sharing his spectacular singing voice with the public, starring in huge hits such as Green Day’s America Idiot and Hair (where he played “Woof”). 

Matt now plays the role of Švec in the musical Once, which tells the heartfelt story of a young man, love, and his guitar. This production TPAC’s, 2014-15 season opener, is unlike any other and destined to be a Nashville favorite, as all eleven cast members remain on stage during the entire performance, playing a variety of instruments to provide all of the award-winning music for the show.  

O&AN had the opportunity to speak with Matt about his role in the production. Asked whether Švec and he were anything alike, Matt acknowledged that they are similar with a chuckle and explained that “Švec is a more ‘out there’ version of me.” Matt also says, “I really enjoy making the audience laugh,” and Švec’s character gives him the chance to shine, thanks to some incredibly talented writing.  

Matt also opened up about a special motivator and inspiration in his personal life: his little sister. Matt has long been an advocate for equal rights for the LBGT community. He started his activism in 2009, just a year before his sister found the courage to come out to him.  Matt jumped at the chance to join his fellow cast members of Hair when they canceled a night’s performance so they could all join in the history making Equality March in D.C.  

A girl couldn’t ask for a much better response from a brother. Matt confided that his sister’s disclosure has only strengthened his resolve and that he adamantly feels “this is the civil rights struggle of our generation.” He went on to say, “People are going to look back and wish they’d been a more active part of it.”         

Matt, a Boston native and first time visitor to Nashville, also shared a secret about his fellow cast members of Once – Nashville has been highlighted on the casts’ calendars for months.  Apparently, word is out that an evening on the town in Music City is quite the delicacy for the ears. Matt is “over the moon!!” about getting to hear the nightly live music of our great city and humbled by the opportunity to play for our audiences.

Once won eight Tony awards, including “Best Musical,” and is playing at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall September 16-21st. Get your tickets at, and we’ll see you there!





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