Update: Matthew McGee last night won a Helen Hayes award for outstanding supporting actor in a play. That’s a big deal!
Fresno State’s Brad Myers watched the award presentation online and got a little choked up at McGee’s acceptance speech, in which he thanked his parents (who traveled from California for the ceremony) and acting professors Myers and Leslie Martin. (You can listen to McGee’s heartfelt speech, in which he admitted he was scared to make the move to D.C. but was so glad he took the chance, here. Go to the 1:14 mark.)
How important is this award to McGee’s career? One of the hosts noted that a Helen Hayes award is highly esteemed by people on Broadway, and that having one in your back pocket can get you through lots of doors.
Original post 01/29/13: Fresno’s Facebook theater community is abuzz with the news that recent Fresno State graduate Matthew McGee scored a nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a play in the 29th Helen Hayes Awards, which represent excellence in Washington, DC-area professional theater. In doing so, he’s in the company of such nominees as Kathleen Turner, Paul Downs Colaizzo and Christopher Sieber.
McGee appeared in such local Fresno productions as “Urinetown,” “Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter” and “Measure for Measure” at Fresno State, and “Of Mice and Men” at CenterStage Clovis Community Theatre. He’s also quite a set designer as well.
Beehive readers may remember that McGee represented Fresno State in 2011 at the American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C., the premier collegiate acting competition in the nation. He didn’t win the top prize. But he scored big anyway: McGee was awarded a paid nine-month internship with The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, a top-notch professional company.
In fact, I think it’s pretty clear McGee’s internship turned out to be a much bigger boost to his career than if he’d won the top Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship prize. He parlayed his D.C. acting experience into a professional role at the Constellation Theatre Company in the play “Taking Steps,” for which he earned his nomination. That’s right: He got nominated for a prestigious acting award for his first professional role. Can’t beat that. Way to go!
Theater trivia time: What actress with strong Fresno theater roots won a Helen Hayes award in 2008? I’ll post the answer tomorrow.