Based in Seattle, SHOWTUNES creates concert versions of rarely staged musicals, and is dedicated to the appreciation, preservation and advancement of musical theater.
Matt Wolfe is a veteran of an original Broadway cast, a national tour, two original cast recordings, five Broadway development productions and countless new works for music theatre. He leads a thriving career as a regional actor, director and theatre arts educator, while maintaining a successful on-camera and voice-over business.
Matt has directed professional productions of West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, and Legally Blonde as well as a fully-produced youth theatre production of Young Frankenstein. He served as an assistant director under Steve Tomkins (Village Theatre), and assisted Linda Hartzell (Seattle Children’s Theatre) on the world premiere of Mwindo in 2014.
Matt starred as “Cornelius” in the national tour of Hello Dolly! starring Sally Struthers, and made his Broadway debut in Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, playing several roles in the ensemble and understudying George Hearn in his roles of “Brother Bob” and “James Kennedy.”
In addition to his passion for the SHOWTUNES mission of producing concert versions of the many unsung musicals, Matt is also committed to helping develop new musicals for the theatre. He has worked with the finest talent in Seattle as well as a long list of Tony Award-winning artists and legendary Broadway veterans including: Martin Charnin, Jack O’Brien, Jerry Mitchell, Casey Nicholaw, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Alan Menken, and Terrance McNally. His 5th Avenue Theatre credits include: Catch Me If You Can, A Christmas Story, Disney’s Aladdin and Saving Aimee. He is featured as “Santa” in the song “Up on Santa’s Lap” on the original cast recording of A Christmas Story. Matt’s Village Theatre credits include: The Music Man, 42nd Street, The Producers, Hello Dolly! and Tommy. As an actor in Village Theatre’s Festival of New Works he participated in readings and workshops for Iron Curtain, Chasing Nicolette, and Million Dollar Quartet. At Seattle Children’s Theatre, Matt helped develop Goodnight Moon and Richard Scarry’s Busytown and they are now performed for children all around the country. Matt holds a B.F.A. Magna Cum Laude in Music Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Executive Producer Maggie Stenson Pehrson, a company founder, has guided the company’s lauded productions from the inaugural show at Seattle’s Town Hall, to celebrated seasons at Kirkland Performance Center, The Moore Theatre, at Benaroya Hall, and now in their added venue at ACT Theatre as an ACTLab company. As a working Pacific Northwest actor, Maggie has also enjoyed diverse stage, TV, film, industrial, voiceover and vocal recording projects for over 25 years.
We formed SHOWTUNES in 1999 to create concert performances of the many unsung gems of the American musical theater. Company co-founders and co-Producing Artistic Directors were Maggie Stenson Pehrson and David Edward Hughes. Our inaugural production was a sold-out concert presentation of Anyone Can Whistle at Town Hall in January of 2000.
In subsequent years we presented concerts in a variety of venues, including Meany Hall, Meydenbauer Center and Village Theater. In 2005, SHOWTUNES began producing concerts at the Kirkland Performance Center, and we enjoyed four seasons there. Our audiences weren’t growing, however, and we had as many people coming from Seattle as we did from the Eastside. It seemed time to move back to Seattle proper. In 2009, David retired from the organization, Maggie became Executive Producer, and Broadway veteran Martin Charnin joined SHOWTUNES as its first Artistic Director. The move to downtown Seattle became a reality when, in 2010, the company entered into a producing partnership with Broadway Across America and Seattle Theatre Group, and moved productions to The Moore Theatre.
While STG and BAA were generous partners over three seasons, the feeling of the right “home base” still proved elusive. Enter Benaroya Hall and their perfect concert venue – the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Centrally located in the heart of downtown Seattle, the hall boasts a “not too big, not too small” stage size as well as audience capacity that seamlessly works for our concert productions. In addition, accessible parking choices and a wealth of nearby restaurants sweetens the experience for our patrons.
At a September 2015 fundraising event, Martin turned the Artistic Director reins over to Matt Wolfe, saying, “I’ve been honored to be a part of SHOWTUNES’ grand and noble purpose for the past six years. However, I am now living and working in New York; what seems prudent is to have a hands-on Seattle-based artistic director continuing in my position. Maggie and I realized soon after Matt joined the board that he would be an ideal successor. He imbues the right amount of talent, dedication, and knowledge. His passion and energy are devout. I will happily remain on the board, and am only a call, text, email, or Skype away. The excitement around this season is palpable. I am confident that this organization has a bright future in Matt’s extremely capable hands.”
The 2016-17 Season marks the 17th year of SHOWTUNES, and the company is embarking on an ambitious season of “Defying Expectations” with three musicals in concert, one cabaret and a special musical theatre event. SHOWTUNES continues its association at Benaroya Hall and will be producing two rarely-seen musicals in concert there this season: Leap Of Faith (Dec 3/4) and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (March 11/12). To kick off the season, SHOWTUNES is pleased to announce an exciting new ACTLab partnership, and will showcase an intimate concert staging of Shenandoah in ACT’s Allen Theatre (Oct 22/23). In addition to these three musicals-in-concerts, SHOWTUNES is producing a February cabaret, Defying Expectations, which will be curated and directed by Seattle-based author/director Sam Pettit. This season will end with the launch of our musical theatre-themed Writer’s Initiative, which will nurture young musical theatre writing talent and educate the public on how new musicals are born.
SHOWTUNES is excited to continue to diversify our offerings while demonstrating our unparalleled devotion to this all-American art form. We do what we do “for the love of musicals!”