My name is Matt Kaiser and I play Will in the Production of American Idiot. My suburbia was right outside of Baltimore. I took a holiday to Boston and now live in Nashua.
I had just become a teenager when the American Idiot album came out. I had already dealt with loss and anger and guilt that I had no clue how to handle. Getting to share the story of American Idiot seemed like an opportunity to, in so many words, share my own. I began preparing for my audition from the moment the show was announced — I went back to all of my albums from high school looking for an audition song, and I even started taking guitar lessons in case they asked me to play. I HAD to be part of this show.
This is my second Actorsingers show after Les Mis, which was my first production after moving to New Hampshire in 2013. I saw my wife’s cousin, Maddie, perform in Actorsingers’ Sound of Music a couple years before and knew I had to be part of this community. I’ve also done some shows with StageCoach since then.
When I was cast I was floored. I think I was so overwhelmed that I was late to work that morning. It was one thing to join the production, but to get a chance to play Will and become part of the story was a dream come true.
Will is a deadbeat – he drinks, he smokes, he watches way too much TV (I won’t get too deep into how similar Will is to a slightly younger Matt…). Will blows his one chance of getting out of suburbia by getting his girlfriend pregnant, and caves under the responsibility. Through the years, I’ve seen a bit of Will in one friend after another. He represents a generation of kids unable to cope with their mistakes and the expectations of the world around them. He’s a character that a lot of people can relate to — and if he makes it through, he’s proving that they can too. Will has a hopelessness that requires me to access a lot of memories that I’ve put away. During a rehearsal run-through I cried during 21 Guns. I love every moment of this show but it’s also reminding me of a version of me that hurts to remember, and that’s hard.
I didn’t perform in a show until my senior year of high school, but I did get selected to play the recorder for our elementary school production of Johnny Appleseed. The American Idiot pit band has nothing on me.
It’s hard to explain the feeling I get when I’m on stage. Taking on a character like Will helps me, for better or worse, understand a little bit more about whom I am. There is something transformative about opening up, even if it’s as someone else. I also do it for the people. This American Idiot cast and crew is like a family to me now, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
I have a design degree from MassArt and work as a designer for PillPack pharmacy in Manchester. Outside of work and theater I like to travel with, watch movies with, and up until this past June, do wedding planning with my now wife!
Show Dates Aug 28, 29, 30 and Sept 3, 4, 5 Tickets available here
Photography by: Stephanie Pappas Photography