Matthew Montelongo

Matthew’s New York theater credits include The Mineola Twins and Arms and the Man (Roundabout Theatre Company) and Tartuffe (The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival). Regionally he has appeared in The Sweepers (Capital Repertory Theatre), Beyond Therapy (The Old Globe Theatre), Far East (The Studio Theatre), As Bees In Honey Drown (TheatreFest), Arms and the Man (Two River Theatre), Don’t Dress for Dinner (The Hangar Theatre), Life’s A Dream (Berkshire Theatre Festival), The Shaughraun (Seattle Repertory Theatre) and The Bald Soprano (Bryant Lake Bowl).

Matthew can be seen in the short-film One Ring Circus and has appeared on Guiding Light and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Matthew has an M.F.A. from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program. Matthew has recently been cast on the New York based shows, All My Children and One Life to Live in the role of Dr. Cortes. He will be appearing in Far Away at the Studio Theater in Washington, DC this Spring.

From the Village Voice review of Five Flights

"When Tom (Matthew Montelongo), an affable hockey player, suffers Ed's romantic refusal, he says, "OK, sure, sure, sure. Sure. OK. That's too bad. I. You're sure. That's too bad. That's." In Montelongo's mouth, the repetitions and cracked rhythms are heartrending."

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Take Me Out
By Cliff Froehlich, Arts and Entertainment Editor

 
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A baseball allusion is unavoidable: The Rep's expansion franchise, Off-Ramp, opens its inaugural season with a winner - the theatrical equivalent of an error-free game pitched to near-perfection and highlighted by detonations of dramatic power.

Designed to showcase works too ambitious for the intimate Studio but potentially too provocative for the stodgier members of the Rep's Mainstage subscriber base, the new series has scouted well, signing a Rickey Henderson-quality leadoff hitter in Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out."

The 2003 Tony winner as best play, "Take Me Out" initially appears focused on a single, narrow issue - the ramifications of major-league player Darren Lemming (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) outing himself as gay. But Greenberg quickly widens his scope to include racism and religion, with Darren and his team, the tellingly named New York Empires, serving as metaphor for and mirror image of an egoistic, maddeningly contradictory America.

Although Greenberg makes frequent, effective use of direct audience address, including several delirious soliloquies, he smartly avoids preachment, delivering serious messages - lessons of humility as much as tolerance - with both sly wit and broad humor. Even in the second act, when a shocking event edges the comedy closer to tragedy, laughter continues to brighten the darkest moments.

Scenic designer Adrian W. Jones' set wonderfully evokes a ballpark with little more than flanking banks of klieg lights, twin electronic scoreboards and a grass backdrop, with sliding walls transforming the field into a locker room, a working shower and a spare, abstract space. The brief scenes of actual game action are simply but convincingly simulated, usually by isolating a single pitcher or hitter, but director Rob Ruggiero also cleverly emulates film montage in his staging of a multi-player ballet of fielding and an exhilarating rally.

 
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What most distinguishes "Take Me Out," however, is its astonishing ensemble. Greenberg creates a few crude cartoons - hilariously obtuse teammates Jason (Jake Schneider) and Toddy (Matthew Montelongo) and an interchangeable pair of excitable Latin players (Jorge Oliver and Jose Joaquin Perez) - but the actors manage to fill even these bold outlines with some subtle shading. Other actors receive relatively brief attention but fully inhabit their complexly motivated characters: Tony Hoty (in a dual role as a conflicted fan and the Empires' surprisingly perceptive manager), Shawn T. Andrew (as Darren's judgmental friend and opposing ballplayer) and Ikuma Isaac (as a proud, lonely Japanese pitcher).

These role players perform undeniably well, but "Take Me Out's" central quartet elevate their game to the superstar level. Anthony-Rodriguez beautifully captures the hubristic Darren's mix of narcissism and charisma. As a John Rocker-like backwoods bigot, Michael Balsley imbues reliever Shane Mungitt with a tortured sadness that genuinely complicates our reaction to his ugly words and actions. And Tim Altmeyer provides the play's wry perspective and emotional core as Kippy, the clubhouse intellectual.

But Nat DeWolf bats cleanup in this lineup of sluggers. As Darren's gay business manager Mason, who slowly falls in love with both his client and his sport, DeWolf is the fan's surrogate, explaining baseball's irresistible appeal with a winning combination of high-flown eloquence and pretension-deflating self-deprecation. DeWolf is an astonishment: smart, funny, touching, utterly endearing.

At the end of one of his breathless paeans, Mason speaks for all of us besotted with the national pastime. "Baseball is unrelentingly meaningful," he says. The same can legitimately be said of "Take Me Out."
© St. Louis Today