For Matt Young, his theatre career has in some ways worked in reverse.
Whilst most young musical theatre stars dream of heading to America, Young spent some 11 years working in major musicals in the US before heading to Australia, where his career has continued to flourish.
Young came to Australia after meeting his partner on a cruise ship, and since then has been a regular on Australian theatre stages, mainly in smaller productions of shows, such as Cabaret at the New Theatre, in which he is currently starring.
“The show is going pretty well,” Young said.
“The space at the New is great for the show and the set is amazing. We’re doing the show without microphones and that gives it a new dimension as well.”
Young said the unamplified version was an interesting test for young performers, many of whom have perfected microphone technique but can sometimes struggle to “hit the back of the room”.
“We’re all handling it pretty well though and this is a wonderful cast to work with,” he said.
“We’re having a ball.”
The New is currently presenting the 1980’s revival version of Cabaret and Young is playing Cliff Bradshaw. Also in the cast is Sheridan Harbridge, Madeleine Jones, Stephen Anderson, Ray Chong Nee and Colleen Cook.
Young has no plans to move back to his native America, with Australia his definite home.
“I’ve been provided with amazing opportunities here – I was a pretty specific music theatre dancer in NYC but it’s somewhat different here, dance isn’t necessarily a huge priority, but the triple threat is important,” he said.
Young said he has strong respect for actors who choose to work in the music theatre industry in Australia.
“In America there’s so many shows and so many smaller theatre companies looking for talent that you can do up to four or five auditions a week,” he said.
“Here you would be unlikely to do four or five major musical auditions a year. It takes guts to be a musical theatre performer here given the obstacles people have to face.”
Amongst the biggest differences between the industries here and in New York is public perception.
“The shows are the stars here,” he said.
“In America people will often make set decisions to see shows specifically because someone is in it, but that would be quite a rarity here.”
Cabaret is at the New Theatre in Sydney until December 19.