Matt Doyle (‘Company’) on Sondheim’s advice for tackling the tongue twister ‘Getting Married Today’

“Not only do I have to deliver the most difficult piece that Sondheim has ever written, but I am also running around the stage and throwing myself into the set,” explains “Company” star Matt Doyle. The song in question is the infamous Stephen Sondheim tongue twister “Getting Married Today,” which the actor must perform at an alarmingly fast clip. The daunting number has the audience at the Jacobs Theatre roaring every night. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

The character spouting off the hyper-speed lyrics is normally named Amy, but director Marianne Elliott has altered the genders of many characters in this musical. Thus, Doyle inhabits the part as Jamie, a neurotic gay man overcome with wedding day jitters when his nuptials to Paul (Etai Benson) approach. Doyle reveals that Elliott originally brought him in to audition for Paul, but stopped him mid-song so she could hear him read for Jamie instead. The actor was given 24 hours to learn “Getting Married Today” and eventually nabbed the coveted role.

SEE Claybourne Elder interview: ‘Company’

“Every now and then for an actor, this role comes along that you feel so connected to,” explains Doyle. Jamie is one of those once in a lifetime roles. Some of that is because of all the ways in which he can draw on his personal experiences to enrich the character. Doyle was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and panic disorder when he was 13, for instance, and the actor describes his song as “the best written panic attack ever.”

As for spitting out the words without stumbling over his own lips, he credits the specificity in Elliott’s direction as a major help. “I’ve seen it done as this one stream of thought,” admits Doyle, but Elliott wanted “every thought to have a specific moment.” This specific weight and care made the number easier to learn, but also manifested itself in extremely active staging with the actor hurtling about the playing space. “There are so many surprises within the staging of this song. It’s a blessing and a curse,” notes Doyle. “It was like training for a sporting event.”

SEE 2022 Tony Awards slugfest: 13 productions vie for places in Musical races

Even though Doyle gets to sing one of the most memorable songs of the production, the most profound part of the experience was working with Sondheim. The last musical theatre maestro was heavily involved with this revival, frequently giving notes and guidance. “I feel so fortunate to have witnessed his spirit,” says Doyle. “I was fascinated by how much he wanted his work to grow. Even in his last moments, he was still creating.”

It was Sondheim who helped Doyle perfect the reading of his exit line: “I’m the next bride!” The actor admits that he initially was doing a subtle, internalized interpretation, but Sondheim wasn’t having it. “It’s the best exit line ever written, you need to scream it!” exclaimed the composer. Realizing that the creator of the show was indeed correct, Doyle changed up the line reading during “Company’s” first preview after the pandemic-induced Broadway shutdown. In one of the pair’s final conversation’s, Sondheim praised the actor with tears in his eyes. “I certainly think of him every night when I say that line,” states Doyle, “and I’m yelling it up to him.”

PREDICT the 2022 Tony Awards nominees now through May 3

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

More News from GoldDerby