Bio

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A Southern California native, Matt trained at the Juilliard School Drama Division, and is based in Milwaukee, where he was named by M Magazine as one of Milwaukee's Top Showstoppers.

Matt's work is centered in the belief that theater exists to bring people together in the same space to share big ideas and collectively explore what it means to be human. To this end, he always employs a full body approach, using mind, heart, and sinew. He brings a signature combination of precision, rigor, fearlessness, humor, and emotional grounding to every project, whether acting, directing, or in the classroom. 

Matt is equally at home in musicals, classical theater, and contemporary plays. His acting roles run the gamut from Shakespeare's comic leading men to side-splitting clowns; quick-witted confidants to chameleon-like character turns in quick-change acts (sometimes in drag!); and of course, villains, both comic and chilling.

One of the finest this city has to offer... As an actor, he has a vast array of skills and can stretch in almost any direction needed by a character. Among all of his virtues, however, the one that has always struck me the most is his movement. He is as graceful an actor as you will ever see. He never makes an idle move but always has a purpose for each and every step, glance or wave of a hand. Watching him on a stage is like taking a master class in stage movement.
— ONMILWAUKEE.COM

His directing style is grounded in a kind of homespun magic— allowing the transformative power of the actor to drive the story, with support from old-school theatrical techniques such as shadow puppetry and mask. This is often coupled with a modern sensibility, peppering classics with modern music and training casts in Viewpoints to create arresting images and sequences.

As a teacher of the work, Matt leads students to make their own discoveries, and gain confidence in their own power to tell stories in fascinating ways.

Often noted as "crowd-pleasing" by critics, Matt's work has also been described as "innovative," "brilliant," "hilarious," "elegant," "hysterical," "exquisite," "winning," and "riveting."

As an actor, Matt has appeared in various media, including award-winning independent films, on television, and on many stages in New York, the Midwest, and regionally.

In 1992, Matt entered The Juilliard School Drama Division as the youngest member of his class, Group XXV.  He graduated in 1996.

In New York, he was a member of several celebrated theater companies, including Gorilla Rep.Inverse Theater, and Metropolitan Playhouse. In 2003, Matt moved to the upper Midwest, where he has been seen at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Opera Theater, Milwaukee Chamber TheatreIn Tandem TheatreFirst Stage Children’s Theatre, Lake Geneva Theater Co., Milwaukee Shakespeare, and Shakespeare Project of Chicago. He was a founding member of goats & monkeys, a theater collective in Milwaukee. Regionally, credits include Kentucky Repertory Theater, Seven Angels Theater, and the MichiganNotre DameNorth Carolina, and Illinois Shakespeare Festivals.

Matt can be seen in the award-winning independent films She Never Screams and Macbeth—the Comedy, the cutting edge VR fictional short Third Wheel, and has appeared numerous times on Guiding Light and As the World Turns

He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

As many characters over the years, Daniels has shown an ability to deliver powerful confidence and precision to the stage.
— MILWAUKEE SHEPHERD-EXPRESS

In 1998, Matt co-founded and was Artistic Director of Tyrannosaurus rep, for which he directed productions of The Winter’s Tale and Elektra. His directing work for First Stage Children's Theater in Milwaukee has been acclaimed as "First Stage at its absolute finest." His work has also been seen at Milwaukee Chamber Theater, goats & monkeys, Sunset Playhouse, Broadway Baby Dinner Theater, 2texans Theater Co., and various Milwaukee area high schools.

In 1999, Matt created Cues & All: the cutting edge verse resource, a forum for actors to hone their skills, especially with classical text.  He was on faculty at The Actors’ Institute, NY, teaching Vocal Dynamics and Script Analysis, and at Act One Studios in Chicago, he taught Voice & Speech and Shakespeare. Matt also privately coached clients from the entertainment and corporate sectors.  He is currently on the faculty at First Stage Theater Academy, serving as Associate Director of the First Stage Young Company, the advanced, award-winning, college-level actor training program at First Stage Theater Academy. He also continues to coach acting and voice and speech privately and is an independent teaching artist in area schools.

In 2010, Matt began playing the ukuleleWith hundreds of Youtube subscribers and over 150,000 views, he is a sought after performer and teacher.

He shares his home with Milwaukee's favorite Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Carrie Murphy, and three maddening cats. He likes Shakespeare, comic books, and dinosaurs, not necessarily in that order.