How Kiersten Noel and Tim Matson met isn’t exactly the most romantic of stories. “Oh, it was the time when you were a sweaty mess,” Matson says to Noel, when asked if they could remember the first moment they laid eyes on each other. It’s a great story. Tell it.”
Noel, from St. John’s, and Matson, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, were both in the vocal performance program at New York University.
Noel — the only international student in the program — had been sent a package of documents, letting her know about important meetings and tests in which she was required to participate, but it hadn’t arrived on time, and she started classes without it.
“I get this email saying, ‘Here’s a reminder of this meeting that we have,’ and I didn’t even know there was a meeting. I got lost. This was in New York in August and I had no idea where I was,” Noel explains.
“I ran up to the 12th floor of the building and they had already started the meeting. I had been running and it was really hot and I hate the heat, and I was drenched in sweat, it was so embarrassing. He was across the table and he was skinny and had the longest hair. It was big and wavy and I just remember him and everyone looking at me.”
And so, love between the sweaty mess and the skinny guy with the long hair was born.
Noel and Matson have been married and living in St. John’s for almost four years.
In addition to their master’s degrees in vocal performance, Noel has bachelors of music and music education from MUN, while Matson has bachelors in education as well as dramatic art and music performance.
Noel is the associate director of music and theatre at MAX in St. John’s, while Matson is a substitute teacher and co-artistic director for Best Kind Productions.
The couple has starred in many local theatre productions together — most recently, last week’s production of “Les Misérables” by Atlantic Light Theatre — and always auditions with the hopes of being cast opposite one another. So far it hasn’t happened, but while they wait for that opportunity, they have created one of their own.
Feb. 20, Noel and Matson will star in the second event in a series of cabaret shows being produced by Best Kind at the LSPU Hall, called “Love Who You Love.”
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for years — literally, years,” Matson says.
“Kiersten has wanted to do a cabaret evening, just putting together a bunch of songs outside the confines of a musical theatre narrative, for a long time.”
Self-professed “geeks,” the pair sings duets all the time at home, around the piano while waiting for supper to cook. It’s how they unwind on a Friday night after a long week, Noel says. “Then, while messing around at the piano at home, we kind of took some of our favourite stuff that we like to sing together for fun and put that in the show, combining it with some great new music that people probably haven’t heard.”
Along with some musical theatre standards are pieces composed by Caleb Hoyer, Rob Shapiro, Zach Redler and Creighton Irons, NYU friends of Noel and Matson, which they believe deserve to be showcased.
The show has been organized to follow a typical romantic comedy theme.
“You know how every romantic comedy is boy meets girl, boy gets girl, loses girl, then gets girl again? Our concert follows that,” Matson says. “There’s always a song where they’re looking for someone, so we have those, then we have the songs where they meet the person, then of course we have to have a breakup set. Actually, it’s some of our best music of the show.”
That set includes Burt Bacharach’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” composed for the 1968 musical, “Promises, Promises,” as well as the heartwrenching “Since You Stayed Here” from the Musical “Brownstone.”
Many of the tunes have personal meaning for Noel and Matson, especially George Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me,” written in 1926 — it was their wedding song.
“I’ll be crying through the whole show,” Noel says, laughing. “There are a lot of meaningful pieces for us that we would have seen each other sing for the first time in school when we first started to date. This is kind of a dream to sing them together and do it publicly.”
Accompanied by Wade Tarling on piano and with special guest Emily Follett, Noel and Matson will take to the stage for “Love Who You Love” at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 at the LSPU Hall box office, by calling 753-4531 and online at www.rca.nf.ca. Best Kind Productions’ cabaret series will continue in June with a show by Megan Barnes and Courtney Fowler.
Noel and Matson, still coming down from the high of “Les Misérables,” plan to continue vying for roles opposite each other in a local musical.
“It really depends on what the circumstances are,” Matson says, “but it will happen one day. We’re excited.”
“And if not,” adds Noel, “we’ll do it ourselves.”