There are many performers in the West End who are a source of admirability and inspiration to those who have a love of all things theatre, and equally, there are many new writers of British musical theatre producing work that warrants the same emotions in these people. When you come across someone who has the rare gift of being able to walk on both sides of the art though, it is a truly special thing. There are several such actors/songwriters currently working in the industry; Dougal Irvine and Tim Prottey-Jones are two examples who have delivered notable contributions on and off the stage. When thinking of this special breed of talent, there is one name which immediately springs to mind however, and that is Stuart Matthew Price. Right now, he is continuing to develop his own stand-alone songs and musicals whilst also travelling all around the world as part of the European Tour cast of The Rocky Horror Show. A man of many talents, he makes a very worthwhile addition to the ranks of In Profile.
Stuart Matthew Price has a deep love for every aspect of theatre, a love he gives credit to Andrew Lloyd Webber for as it was first ignited at the tender age of six when he heard a song from The Phantom of the Opera on the car radio. He pursued a career in the industry and performed in several National Youth Musical Theatre productions as a kid, including Bugsy Malone in both the West End (Queen’s Theatre) and on tour, before going on to be accepted into Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. One of the most renowned drama schools in the UK, it counts such stage stars as Oliver Thornton, Emily Tierney, Matt Rawle, Julie Atherton and Jon Robyns amongst its graduates. Price himself graduated in 2007, gaining an additional theatre credit alongside his degree for playing Robert/Larry in Company while training there.
He walked straight into his first professional role in London playing Young Soldier/Frankie Epps in Parade at Donmar Warehouse, which was followed by a number of concert appearances. He was a guest vocalist at concert events such as Scottish Widows and Notes In Heels (Notes From New York), as well as performing at the Royal Albert Hall for Strictly Gershwin. He then landed the role of Jordan in the critically-acclaimed new musical Departure Lounge, written by Dougal Irvine and performed at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
He then joined the UK Tour of The Rocky Horror Show playing the role of handyman Riff Raff in 2009. Later that year he starred in the title role of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Minnack Theatre, then went on to perform in the company of National Theatre Studio’s 2010 production of Liberation.
His list of theatre credits continued to grow as he played Yasha in the stage revival of 1930’s musical The Cradle Will Rock at the Arcola Theatre, before playing Scotty in Donmar Warehouse’s staged concert performance of Merrily We Roll Along, which took place at the Queen’s Theatre as part of the celebrations for Sondheim’s 80th birthday. He was then cast in his first big West End show when Broadway’s Shrek The Musical transferred to the West End in 2011, opening at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 14th June (previews from 6th May). Price was part of the show’s original London cast in an ensemble capacity, playing Pig of Sticks/Walter/Knight and covering the more prominent role of Pinocchio.
After his time in Shrek came to an end, he took a northbound journey to perform in a brand new musical at Manchester Opera House. He played Andrew Van Helsing in the world première of Jonathan Choat’s Vampirette, which also starred Lauren Samuels and Norman Bowman. The show ran from 4th-19th May 2012, after which he returned to London and was next seen in the production of Mack and Mabel at Southwark Playhouse. In the role of Frank, he again appeared alongside Norman Bowman, who played Mack Sennett opposite Laura Pitt Pulford as as Mabel Normand. He then played Dallas in Sweet Smell of Success at the Arcola Theatre and Julian in Dear World at the Charing Cross Theatre, before appearing in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music in 2013. He played Franz in the star-studded cast, which was led by Michael Xavier (Captain von Trapp) and Charlotte Wakefield (Maria Rainer) and also featured such names as Faye Brooks, Nadine Cox, Michael Matus and Caroline Keiff.
2014 began with his return to the Southwark Playhouse, where he starred as Tony in The A-Z of Mrs P alongside Isy Suttie, Frances Ruffelle and Michael Matus before embarking on his current touring role.
Price has also performed at Jest End (Jermyn Street Theatre) and been involved in workshops for Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), Only The Brave and The Wind in the Willows (Chief Weasel). He was also a singer for the National Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Gala. In addition to his theatre roles, he has performed as a guest vocalist in a number of concerts, such as My Fair Lady (RTE Concert Orchestra), Hooray For Hollywood, MGM Musicals and Rogers and Hammerstein Prom (BBD/Royal Albert Hall)The Good Companions (BBC Radio 3), Simply The Music of Scott Alan (New Players) and Beyond The Gate, which was a musical revue of new writing produced and released on CD by SimG Records. Matthew Price wrote an original composition for it, as well as performing a number of the submitted songs. His song, Stories For Heroes, was selected to win the Tim Williams Award for Composition at the fourth annual TWA event in 2011.
That is not the only song-writing pie he has had his fingers in though. As much as he is applauded for his vocal performances in stage productions, Matthew Price is also one of the most promising young composers currently on the theatre scene. He released his début album, All Things In Time, in 2010 on the SimG Records label, which featured his own composition ‘Autumn Days’ alongside a set of songs by other bright talents, such as Scott Alan, Dougal Irvine, Laurence Mark Wythe and Stile & Drewe, among others. Described as “a composer’s best friend” by Jason Robert Brown, who wrote two tracks for the album, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with a critic for Musical Stages writing that “Price’s clarion tones take on a variety of colours on this fantastic album showcasing contemporary musical theatre composers”. A line-up of some tremendous guest vocalists bolstered it further, with the likes of Caissie Levy, Annalene Beechey and Louise Dearman. He is currently in the process of creating his follow-up album, which will feature twelve original songs written by him.
He has written five musicals in his composing career, the first of which, Searching, was written when he was just fourteen years old and earned him the accomplishment of being named the ‘Most Promising Under 18 Musical Writer’ at the Stoll Moss Theatres Award in 2009. Another, titled The Diary of Me, made its première at the Harlow Playhouse in 2006. He also wrote the musicals Earth 3001 and Moving On, along with his most recent show Before After, which was workshopped at the St James Theatre Studio in September 2014 and had its world première in Tokyo, Japan in November 2014, working towards a possible UK production in 2015.
The first time I heard of Stuart Matthew Price was at the 2010 winter SimG Production event Christmas With…Hadley Fraser and Friends, where he was one of the ‘friends’ that Fraser invited along to perform. Heralded by Fraser as having “a voice from the fourth dimension”, Matthew Price sung one of his album tracks, ‘Run Away With Me’, and I suspect made many a new fan that night with his impressive vocals. Since then, he has been involved in further cabaret/concert events, including Perfect Pitch’s The Great British Musical, his own cabaret at the Battersea Barge and performing his own composition and accompanying himself on piano at the annual MADTrust event A West End Christmas, where he also sung with his then-Shrek cast mates. He also co-produced the Dress Circle Benefit concert in 2011, which was nominated as one of the ‘Theatre Events of the Year’ in the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Awards. Before leaving the UK to go on tour, he made his last London performance at the St James Theatre for the one-night-only concert event, Melodies in Motion, joined by Charlotte Wakefield and Lauren Samuels to showcase a range of his original material. He can also be heard on the MADTrust charity album, The West End Goes Mad For Christmas, for which he wrote and recorded the original song ‘This Christmas’.
He is currently performing around the world in the European Tour of The Rocky Horror Show, having reprised the role of Riff Raff. The show has been playing at the Musical Theater in Bremen and is soon to be moving to the Capitol Theater, Dusseldorf, where it will run from 13th to 18th January 2015.
He has taken on the worlds of performance and composing and is steadily conquering both of them. An actor, a composer and a producer, Stuart Matthew Price is a highly talented individual and one of the most valuable assets to the UK theatre industry that we have. This is one star who is certain to enjoy a long and very successful career.
You can follow Stuart Matthew Price on Twitter: @stuartmprice
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 10th January 2014