Matt Doyle’s act includes his “tried and true” favorites. (Courtesy Feinstein’s at the Nikko)

Matt Doyle makes a homecoming cabaret debut

B’way star pulls out Huey Lewis tunes from ‘Heart of Rock & Roll’

Musical theater star Matt Doyle is proud to report that he won’t be doing anything terribly new in his Feinstein’s at the Nikko debut in The City this week.

“It’ll be me and a piano, performing some of the songs that shaped me along the way, from Broadway shows I’ve been in or pop tunes I know and love; I get to do all my tried-and-true favorites,” says the singer-actor, whose credits include lead roles in “The Book of Mormon,” “War Horse” and “Spring Awakening” in New York, and, most recently, the premiere of “The Heart of Rock & Roll” in San Diego.

The Bay Area cabaret debut also represents a homecoming for the former Marin County resident, whose performing life started in middle school, when he appeared in community theater musicals in Marin presented by Marilyn Izdebski.

Next, at Redwood High School in Larkspur, under the leadership of teachers Eric Berkowitz and Britt Block (whose retirement party he’ll attend when he’s in town) he graduated to more challenging, heavier duty dramas including “Marat/Sade” and “Romeo and Juliet” — a good preparation for studies of the classics that followed in London.

Still, he’s most excited about the local connection he’ll explore in this San Francisco cabaret gig, particularly the Huey Lewis material from “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” a show that’s likely headed to Broadway.

“It’s moving, smart, charming and sweet. It’s like a John Hughes movie, like ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ with Huey Lewis songs,” says Doyle, who’s thrilled to have been involved with the show since its inception, working with writers Jonathan Abrams and Tyler Mitchell, director Gordon Greenberg and Lewis himself.

“He’s always been an icon of mine,” says Doyle, adding, “I was his next-door neighbor growing up; we’re both from Ross.”

With an resume that also includes revivals of “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Sweeney Todd” — Doyle says he never expected to perform for Stephen Sondheim himself, “just two seats away” — Doyle thinks he’s aged out of one of his dream roles, Claude in “Hair,” but would like to appear in “Company” someday.

And even though he was skilled and lucky enough to star in the 2011 season’s best play (“War Horse”) and musical (“Book of Mormon”) on Broadway, Doyle maintains an appealing humility: “I’m just happy to work, to be fortunate in this business and this world,” he says.

It remains to be seen if that positive attitude spills over to logistics surrounding his domestic life, as he plans to move out the Jersey City place he’s shared with a roommate for awhile and move in with his boyfriend.

“We’re currently looking. We might end up in Manhattan,” says Doyle, adding, “apartment hunting is not fun.”

IF YOU GO

Matt Doyle

Where: Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 7-8

Tickets: $39 to $49

Contact: www.todaytix.com

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