Introduce Your Self(ie): 10 Questions with Avenue Q's New Star, Matt Dengler
February 23rd, 2015
by Matt Dengler
Matt Dengler is the new kid on the block over at the Tony-winning musical Avenue Q. The young actor (whose other credits include A Little Night Music, Harold & Maude & The Underclassman) stars as recent college grad Princeton and as uptight, closeted Republican Rod, and below he takes on 10 questions about how the off-Broadway show reflects his own NYC experience, his favorite Muppets and the Oscar-winning film he’ll never let go.
1. The lyric from Avenue Q that most sums up my experience being young in New York City:
It's hard to pick just one since the whole show is a parable of being young in NYC. The first thing that pops into my mind is "there is life outside your apartment" since I can be somewhat of a hermit, especially in the winter. But I would have to say the last line of the show, "everything in life is only for now" resonates with me as a young New Yorker. NYC exaggerates everything, the good, the bad, the highs, the lows, so it's important to keep a healthy perspective. That lyric sums up Avenue Q and I think it's really profound.
2. If I could go back to college for 24 hours, I would:
Well, I went to NYU so in many ways my life now still feels like an extension of college. So I would probably go to a party school with a campus and try to hit up as many house parties as possible.
3. Muppet I would choose as my spirit animal:
Gonzo! He's awkward and accident-prone and kind to his fine-feathered friends! When things go wrong for him I admire his "isn't it fantastic" attitude. Plus we both have pretty distinguishing schnozes.
4. Muppets Babies or Muppet movies?
Muppet Babies! I grew up watching them on Nickelodeon. "When your room looks kinda weird/ and you wish that you weren't there/ just close your eyes and make believe/ and you can be anywhere!"
5. If I were on a cross-country road trip and had to take either Rod or Princeton, I'd pick:
Ooo, well Rod would probably be a great co-pilot, organized and all that. Plus, he wouldn't object to my radio preferences (NPR to Beyoncé). But I would probably bring Princeton because he would go with the flow and not get too derailed if we experienced some bumps along the way.
6. A film I love so much I know every word:
Haha, it's funny because in the show Kate Monster says, "I love Titanic!" And Princeton hesitates and says, "it was alright." As Princeton I have to commit to not really liking it every night when really I'm thinking, "you can be blasé about some things, Rose, but NOT Titanic. It's over a hundred feet longer than The Mauritania..." I know every word.
7. TV show that I can always count on to make me LoL:
Broad City!!! Get into it!
8. Avenue Q opened in 2003; if I were describing myself then I'd say:
Pubescent...I just think that's a gross word and I wanted to say it. No, but actually I was pubescent and in 9th grade and I was probably interested in the Wicked/Avenue Q rivalry at The Tonys that year...
9. My favorite place to eat in NYC:
Recently I've been into this Ukrainian restaurant in my neighborhood called Veselka. They have the best pierogies and are open 24 hours. What's not to love?!
10. The most random club or extra curricular activity I was a part of in school was:
In 8th grade, I signed up for ski club on a whim. I had never skied before and signed up because I thought it was what all the cool kids did. I ended up learning how to ski but a kid can only look so cool bombing the bunny hill all winter in a wedge formation. The cool kids were making out on the ski lift, I was screaming on the tow-rope.
Head back to see ‘Avenue Q,’ starring Matt Dengler, at off-Broadway’s New World Stages