The period of crisis and rebirth that can arrive at age 33 is often called the Jesus Year. For Matthew Scott‘s father, it manifested in a sinking feeling that he might not live to see his four young sons grow up. So he began writing them a letter — life lessons ranging from sex to communication to spirituality — that was found after his death, when Scott was only 13. For Scott, the letter became a cherished guide to growing up while he navigated intimate relationships, his professional career, his challenges with anxiety, and the early years of fatherhood to two sons of his own. In December 2021, Scott — who had by then taken Broadway by storm in a string of hits that included Sondheim on Sondheim
, Jersey Boys
and An American in Paris
— wove his father‘s letter, anecdotes from his own life and a collection of classic pop and Broadway songs (from Paul McCartney and Billy Joel to William Finn and Stephen Sondheim) into a moving and rousing one-man show.
Philip and I first worked with Matt on the original Broadway cast recording of Sondheim on Sondheim
. We were so enamored of his talent that we asked him to do several other studio-based recordings with us, including our Jerome Kern album The Land Where the Good Songs Go
and our Noel and Cole
. Back in 2019, Matt and I talked about working on his debut album; when I saw him perform The Jesus Year
two years later, I told him this needed to be that album. As I always say, you only get one chance to make a first album — you only get one chance to make a “first impression“ — and the show is so moving, and his voice so stunning on this material, it quite takes your breath away. We’ve added instruments for the recording, but kept the intimacy and the sense of Matt sharing his story with the audience, in this case the listener; our goal was to create something just as affecting as the live show, but more richly textured. This is the kind of show that not merely draws crowds but makes them cry: exactly the kind of emotional journey Philip and I are most attracted to.