Legend has it-as stories like this are wont to go-that Matt Logan has always been something of a genius, a wunderkind if you will, since he first found his way home to the theater. An integral part of the theater scene in Nashville, a city where creativity abounds and the imagination flourishes, Logan has made a name for himself as artistic director of Studio Tenn, the theater company he heads with managing director Jake Speck. Together, the two men have created a theater company that is widely respected by actors and audiences alike, gaining acclaim from critical types who regularly heap praise upon its productions.
Since Studio Tenn debuted with its mounting of Our Town, the company has-with each successive production-helped to push the creative envelope, challenging preconceived notions about classic stage dramas (Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, or the company's most recent hit Twelve Angry Men, in which Speck starred in the role played by Henry Fonda in the film adaptation), offering up fresh takes on some of musical theater's best-known and most-often-produced titles (Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Hello, Dolly!, The Sound of Music or Guys and Dolls) or giving a completely contemporary update to a musical revue such as Smokey Joe's Café.
The company's success ensures that Logan and Speck's professional theater company will continue to be a vibrant force in Music City's creative community for years to come and, thanks to their leadership, talented actors from all over the world will continue to vie for the opportunity to work on a Studio Tenn show. As a director and a designer, Logan has won attention for his efforts, both from critics and audiences, and he is described, variously, by actors as "inspiring," "passionate" and "genius."
So, recently, I put this question to several of Matt Logan's biggest fans-people who have worked with him over the past few seasons: What impresses you/inspires you/surprises you/delights you the most about Matt Logan's creative process?
Alli Mauzey: I am in awe of Matt's many talents in the arts! And his passion for it is contagious. When working with Matt, I feel like my ideas, thoughts and choices are always enthusiastically welcomed. He gives me so much confidence as an actress and singer.
Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva: His approach to things is so raw and working with him through that process is like a lucid dream…I have a fondness for Matt and his work. It's hard to explain his process. I say lucid dreaming because when the process begins it's pretty standard. There's not a lot of talk, he likes to just jump in and let the actors play for a bit...but then he starts altering things so subtly...but words and actions and emotion begin to drip, creating whole new world that nobody feels coming. There are times I lose myself and have to check back in.
Gosh and then the props and set pieces start to appear bringing it to this next level. By the time we get to the Franklin Theatre and see the set-all the secrets and holes he's been keeping from us-everything just falls into place.
You know, I'm so into fantasy and mysticism and such and I like to think I'm more of a realistic actress. I mean, I use method when I have to, but it's better for me when it's real. Matt has a way of merging fantasy and reality so well that it's hard not to be sucked in to the world he is presenting. You get lost in the beauty. It would not matter if we were looking at dragons or can-can dancers...he makse it real for every person sitting in the audience.