EDGE Interview: In Gender-Switched 'Company,' Matthew Rodin is 'Not Getting Married Today'

Steve Duffy READ TIME: 11 MIN.

The cast of the National company of "Company"
Source: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

EDGE: How does the gender swap change the way you see the show?

Matthew Rodin: I think it's a testament to the piece that the genders of pretty much any of the roles could be swapped, and the story still stands. I certainly think that these gender swaps that they've made are so brilliantly made. They provide a new context for these characters and their stories, which makes them more relevant to where we are in society today. A 35-year-old unmarried man isn't as uncommon as a 35-year-old unmarried woman for the most part, and the pressures on a 35-year-old unmarried woman are very different from the pressures on an unmarried 35-year-old man in 2024. At the end of Act I, having the queer couple be the one that is going through a little bit of tumultuousness and questioning is powerful because it shows that they are part of the larger picture in terms of what marriage is.

EDGE: How does Stephen Sondheim's music inspire you?

Matthew Rodin: What's incredible about his music is that he has a way of articulating what's happening internally in a way that's both explicit and suggestive. He doesn't use too many words. Everything is efficient. What's also quite remarkable with his music is that what's happening underneath deeply informs the words that are coming out, which I think is the hope of all musical theater. We want the melody, the accompaniment, and the harmonies that are built to amplify both the words that we're saying and the message that we're trying to relay. His music does that in such a way that I don't think anyone else has ever achieved in musical theater. He is the Shakespeare of our time in terms of musical theater.

Watch Matthew Rodin perform "Runnin'" from the musical "Beau" at show's album release party at Joe's Pub.

EDGE: What do you hope the audience takes away from this production?

Matthew Rodin: I hope that people leave with questions. I hope that they will want to talk about what partnerships and relationships mean to them and where they fall into the expansive and endless spectrum of what that means. I don't think the show provides any answers, which is why I love it so much. I hope, if anything, people leave with a sense of comfort knowing that life is complicated and it's even more beautiful because we get to share it.

EDGE: In the cast bio it says, "Matthew is grateful to be here and queer." What does being queer mean to you and what is your message to other queer individuals.

Matthew Rodin: I mean that specifically in the sense of in a particular moment. Right now, I'm talking to you. I'm in D.C. and you're in Boston, but I'm grateful to be here at this moment right now with you. And when someone reads that, while sitting in the theatre, in the Playbill bio, I'm probably backstage getting ready for the show or its intermission. It's my acknowledgment of a moment that I am glad to be sharing with you. Then the other half of that is the queer component, which is my queerness. It's all-encompassing in that it's not only who I am, but it's what I believe. For me, everything is nuanced. There is no good and bad. There is no black and white. Everything is a part of a larger spectrum. I think queerness for me is a representation of that, not only of my sexuality but also of my gender and my faith. It's everything.

That is what I love about being queer and identifying as a queer person. I feel as if everybody is a part of my family. I'm talking about straight people and gay people. My queerness is the acknowledgment that I am a part of something much larger than myself. I'm grateful that you asked me this question because it makes me happy, and it makes me grateful, and it keeps me humbled. My message for other queer people is that you don't need a definition and you don't need to put yourself into any boxes that exist as you are today in this particular moment, in this hour, in this minute, that is more than enough.

Matthew Rodin as "Hedwig" in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
Source: Milwaukee Rep

EDGE: Tell us about your podcast, "The Come Up."

Matthew Rodin: Absolutely! Thanks for asking. "The Come Up" is a podcast that I started a few years ago that is a space to have really honest and candid conversations about the reality of being a growing person and artist. It is me sitting down with people I know and people that I don't know, and we talk about their relationship with themselves and their work. I want to know where they are in their journey of self-discovery. The podcast is an opportunity to check in and see at what point they are in their journey. I feel very blessed and lucky that I have been able to have so many heartwarming, heart-opening, and eye-opening conversations. I love getting to talk to people. I can't shut up and it's given me not only the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with people that I do know but also to go deep with people that I admire. The conversations are often funny an d spiritual. We sort of touch on everything. I'm excited because I think we're going to do another batch of episodes for this upcoming Broadway season.

The National tour of "Company" is currently at Boston's Citizen Bank Opera House through April 14, 2024. For more information, follow this link.

For upcoming dates on the "Company" tour, follow this link

Watch Matthew Rodin in the trailer for the film "Beau."

by Steve Duffy

Read These Next