Professor in spotlight in smash show
A university academic from Canterbury has been thrust into the national spotlight as musical director of a smash-hit show starring Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.
Professor Matthew Wright is working on stage alongside the award-winning actor, who takes the lead role in Network at the National Theatre.
The 40-year-old, who is the professor of composition and sonic art at Canterbury Christ Church University’s School of Music and Performing Arts, has worked with the sold-out show’s composer, Eric Sleichim, for almost 10 years on other productions.
But for Network, Sleichim wanted an entirely electronic score performed by a quartet of laptop musicians.
The show, which also stars Downtown Abbey’s Michelle Dockery, is an adaptation of the 1976 Oscar-winning film by Paddy Chayesky.
It tells the story of a news net- work’s anchor who, on discovering he faces the sack because of falling ratings, unravels live on air – but when his audience soars he becomes the biggest thing on TV.
Professor Wright said: “Because of the sound Sleichim was looking to create, I was offered the role of musical director, as well as asked to form and lead the quartet of musicians that appear on stage for the entire run – about 75 performances.
“It has been an education to see at close quarters actors at the level of Bryan Cranston and Michelle Dockery working through the script with such attention to detail and to each nuance of the play.”
Network debuted in November to critical acclaim, receiving a five-star review from the Guardian and being described as “breathtaking” by the Hollywood Reporter.
Its run at the National Theatre ends in March.
Professor Matthew Wright is musical director of Network