FACES: Matthew Lawler — Actor
While playing Nick Bottom, the comic relief in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a production with The Mile Square Theatre last summer, actor Matthew Lawler was in the midst of an intensive series of auditions for the hit ABC series “The Family.”
Similar to Bottom, Lawler’s nationally acclaimed performance as blunt, wise-cracking FBI agent Gabe Clements provides a bit of much-needed levity to “The Family”—a truly gripping crime drama that has cultivated a passionate following over the past few months—co-starring Andrew McCarthy, Joan Allen and Rupert Graves.
So how did Lawler go from the “Bottom” to the top? By working his “ass” off—terrible Shakespeare pun intended…
After graduating from Holy Cross, Lawler did a stint at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. “I knew I wanted to do theater,” says Lawler, “but I also knew I wanted to live back east.”
Lawler eventually landed in New York, where he started a theatre company called The Rude Mechanicals—yet another nod to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“I’ve always found that play to be the most accessible of Shakespeare’s plays,” says Lawler. “It keeps the audience—even kids—curious and engaged.”
Meanwhile Lawler’s Rude Mechanicals went beyond Shakespeare, tackling powerful works by acclaimed contemporary playwrights like Don DeLillo, Will Eno and Caryl Churchill.
Moving to Hoboken in 2004, Lawler found a home in The Mile Square Theatre, where he served as associate artistic director from 2009-2015 and delivered a number of phenomenal performances as both an actor and director. In addition to performing on stage, Lawler assembled an impressive résumé of roles in feature films and shows like “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Americans,” “Law & Order,” “House of Cards,” and “Orange is the New Black.”
“I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to make a living doing something I love,” says Lawler. “I feel like I’m a good hustler.”