Friday, February 04, 2011
Matthew McCray is the Founding Artistic Director of Son of Semele Ensemble. A multi-faceted artist in many theatrical disciplines, Matthew enjoys working professionally throughout the year as a producer, director, performer, musical director, composer and teacher of theatre. Originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, he moved to California in 1994 to attend Chapman University. After earning a BFA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Vocal Music from Chapman in 1998, he moved to Los Angeles. He currently resides in Eagle Rock, California.
In 2004, Matthew was featured on the cover of American Theatre Magazine for his work with SOSE. As a director Matthew's work includes both original and published work. Most recently, his 2006 production of Iphigenia (A Rave Fable) received six LA Weekly Award nominations and Matthew received an award for his work as the Video Deisgner. Other directing work includes his own original plays A Few Moments Behind The Mask, Earthlings and Amended which premiered in REDCAT's Studio Festival, as well as Animal Farm, the west coast premiere of Back Story, a workshop production of What The Moon Saw by Stephanie Fleischmann and most recently a workshop production at CalArts of Lear's Wild Rose by Sibyl Oâ€™Malley. Matthew is currently collaborating with Center Theatre Group to assist in producing the yearlong festival of work by Suzan-Lori Parks called 365 Days / 365 Plays.
In 1999 Matthew created a theatre program for children in Newport Beach called Musical Theatre Playground (MTP) that produces reduced musicals and Shakespearean plays with child actors (K-6). As the program's sole producer, adaptor and director, Matthew has presented over 30 productions, inspiring countless children to become theatre-goers and theatre-makers. Now in his 8th year of producing and directing for MTP, Matthew's earlier MTP cast members have gone on to specialty high schools for the performing arts to continue their studies in the theatre.
Matthew has appeared on the stage, as well as in film, television and commercials. His credits include the experimental stage of REDCAT as well as nationally-recognized musical theatre organizations REPRISE! and Musical Theatre West. For Son of Semele Ensemble his acting credits include the role of Abraham in The Mysteries, the role of Boxer in the Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award-nominated cast of Animal Farm, Jacob in the NAACP Theatre Award nominated cast of The Tower and Paul Antonelli in Film is Evil: Radio is Good. His television work includes the recurring role of Jasper on the Emmy Award-winning television show Will & Grace, Boston Legal and, most recently, a pilot called The Cure. He has also been seen and heard singing in a Discover Card commercial, and in 2003 he carried a supporting role in the independent film The Commission, starring Martin Sheen, Edward Asner and Martin Landau. Matthew is a member of Actors' Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.
Matthew has authored three plays: Amended which premiered at REDCAT's Studio Festival in 2004; Earthlings which Son of Semele Ensemble premiered in Los Angeles in 2001; and, A Few Moments Behind The Mask which premiered in 1998 at Chapman University. His musical writing includes choral work, musical scores and incidental music for the theatre. His two published choral works for voice and piano are When We Two Parted, published in 1995 with Twin Elm Publishing, and The Paper Reeds By The Brooks, published in 1998 with National Music Publishing. When We Two Parted was performed by The Choral Project in Santa Cruz and San Jose in 2004. In 1996 his musical anthology of Lewis Carroll poetry was added into a theatre work about Alice Liddell, subsequently performed at Chapman University. Additionally, in 1998 he directed a complete evening of his choral compositions, also at Chapman.
Matthew currently teaches Musical Theatre at Chapman University. Other teaching credits include a performance workshop at California Lutheran University, as well as private singing instruction at Pacific School of Music and the Arts. Last year Matthew was asked to join a panel at California Institute of the Arts to speak with students about the formation of ensemble theatre companies.