The backstory . . .
I spent half of my fifth-grade year pretending that I couldn't see the chalkboard.
I implemented an elaborate scheme to convince my teacher, Mrs. Trevor, and my parents, that I needed glasses.
All to impress the ingénue of Arnold Elementary School––who during recess–– declared that she'd only date boys that wore glasses. What she didn't express, is that the boys had to be blond-headed surfers, too!
Check out my book,
for the full story.
You may already know interdisciplinary artist, educator, and advocate Matthew Shaffer from his television work on the top Netflix original series Wet Hot American Summer, or from his notable advice on Dance Moms, or perhaps you recognize him from his short-lived role as a Pottery Barn sales associate.
Matthew’s debut book So You Want To Be A Dancer launched as an Amazon #1 New Release in Performing Arts and continues to dominate the charts. His second book, Dancing Out of the Closet––a collection of creative nonfiction essays––is “One of the most delightful and insightful reads in the last few years . . . “ –CNN contributor Dr. Paul Hokemeyer
With his razor-sharp tongue and quick-witted edge Matthew ignites hilarious banter with a sassy social styling that only a sharp-dressed Xennial (look it up), hipster can provide. He wrote, directed, and starred in his first production when he was 7 years old and has been entertaining family members (and audiences) ever since!
After attending the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts, Matthew continued his professional career as a principal dancer for the world-renowned company, Giordano Dance Chicago. Highlighted credits include Cold Case, Jackass Number Two, The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, Hansel & Gretel at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Earth to America with Jason Alexander, Broadway Cares with Rosie O’Donnell, Disney XD’s Kickin’ It, Bunheads, he appears alongside Adam Levine on Broad City, and on the hit show Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
In 2010, Matthew co-founded A Group Production, serving as executive producer and collaborating on over 40 projects between Broadway, Film, and Television.
On the heels of a global pandemic, Matthew returned to graduate school to earn his Master of Fine Arts in directing and choreography from Wilson College. There, Matthew turned his attention to exploring gender, identity, and grief related to narratives in theater and commercial art.
Whether directing and choreographing Matilda the Musical with a half-million dollar budget or working with emerging artists in community theaters and festivals, Matthew fosters a creative environment to craft a story grounded in the idea that emotion is genderless, that we’re all looking to connect and feel validated. Art should be an equitable and accessible space for all.
For the past 20 years, Matthew has worked as an educator at leading performing arts conservatories and conventions across the United States and Europe including the Broadway Dance Center and Giordano Dance Center. He is currently an adjunct professor at AMDA DTLA, Los Angeles and on faculty with Fluid Dance Convention. You can follow Shaffer's journey on Instagram: @funnyshaffer.