Matt Specht

Matt Specht is a creative person with a lot of energy. He writes poetry, paints, sings in a band, writes songs, and enjoys community theatre. He finds theatre is the perfect outlet for his dynamic approach to life. “Putting a story on stage in front of a live audience is just the most thrilling thing,” he says. “I found a new family and home at the Racine Theatre Guild. It’s the perfect place for me to be creative and feel at home with people who love the same art form I do.”

Matt’s first show was The Diary of Anne Frank in spring of 1994. “Someone I knew told me he was going to audition so I went in cold to read for the show, and I was cast in the part of Peter. I learned so much from the director and the other actors. Much as I love comedy and making people laugh, I have enjoyed my acting in serious dramas, too.”

Matt enjoys adding singing to his acting, and his first appearance in a musical was the second year of Peter Pan, in 1994. “That experience was so much fun,” Matt remembers. “That was when musicals were almost a novelty on the RTG stage, and it was a thrill to be part of that show and see how much the audience, especially children, loved to see the story come to life. I actually quit my job to be part of that show and be in the daytime performances.”

Next up for Matt was a serious play again, Lost in Yonkers, in 1995. “Wow,” he says. “Being on stage with Hilda Greenquist and Jerry Rannow and Jacque Troy was like taking an acting class. I was surrounded by so much talent, it was mind-bending. Some of my favorite theatre moments were when the lights would go down for a scene change, and we’d hear audience members crying and sniffling. That story was so powerful.”

Smoke on the Mountain, the summer musical in 1995, found Matt playing the pastor of congregation, and he played piano and accordion. He played double roles: one of the brothers and Potiphar in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1997. “That was a non-stop show and every one of us was having fun on stage, with the upbeat music and happy ending.”

“I took some breaks from auditioning for shows at the RTG when my band got busy and we went on tour and were traveling a lot,” Matt says. “But I was always pulled back and tried to find a way to work it into my schedule.” Matt was in Annie in 2002 and in Honk! in 2004. He co-chaired props in 2005 for Visiting Mr. Green, and then came The Music Man that same year.

“That was the favorite show I’ve ever done,” Matt says. “I loved that show and the music from the time I was small, and I thought Harold Hill was the coolest guy ever. It was just great playing that part on stage, and everyone else in the cast was so strong. I also had a great time as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in 2008. I met my girlfriend Dana in that show.”

Matt appeared in King of the Moon (2007), Miracle on 34th Street (2009), Duck Hunter Shoots Angel (2014), That Darn Plot (2017), and Boeing Boeing (2017). He says playing Bernard in that show was too much fun. “Being the suave playboy with three girlfriends was just great, and I loved playing scenes with Eric Welch. He and I overlapped in other shows through the years, and we had a blast together. That was a top-notch cast, and we all ran around and were crazy on stage. I loved hearing the laughter.”

In the show Lombardi, Matt is working with people new to him and others from the past. “It’s really a serious character study, and I feel my role as Paul Hornung is particularly challenging, because for the first time I’m playing a real historical person. I did research about him and I’m trying to be true to the script and bring the real Paul to life. I feel I’m watching a master class in acting by watching the others in the cast.”

Right now Matt’s job as harbor master for the Prairie Harbor Yacht Club doesn’t let him be part of the big spring musicals. But he continues to carve out time for the RTG. “I love the sense of community that I find in this organization,” he says. “I feel it’s Doug’s leadership that binds us all together and keeps the RTG going strong. I want to be part of this theatre tradition and feel honored that I’ve acted under great directors. I’ve learned something new about acting from each of them. I hope lots of people come to Lombardi who don’t usually see plays, and this show will be an ambassador for live theatre. I’m so glad I can be part of this show, and I’m so glad the RTG is part of my life.”