MATTHEW 'SUPERHERO' CAPUTO
She was sure she’d never encountered a more delightful face; a compelling mix of Italian good-looks and genuine sweetness that was both expressive and charming. His round, wide eyes were deep and dark, twinkling endlessly like starlight on a river…She took a moment to commit his sweet, perfect face to memory, taking in the pure magic of him. The same curious hopefulness lay in his expression as when he had first appeared before her in the darkness backstage, impish, enthusiastic and kind. ‘It’s been wild, Monkey,’ she murmured, wrapping him in a grateful hug. ‘Don’t tell the others, but I think I’m going to miss you most of all.’ And it was true. He was no saint, but there was more goodness in him than in any normal human being; there was something in that ridiculous smile of his – the one which lit whole auditoriums in a heartbeat – that seemed to heal the world around him, at least for a moment or two.
- from a work-in-progress novel 'The Girl With The Sky Umbrella'
Of course, as it worked out, I got to see Matthew twice: once for his half-show star turn as Bill Bailey and one whole show as Mungojerrie. I would've loved to have seen him play more parts though, and honestly, if I'd known him a better back then I swear I would've told him "You contact me if you know you're going on and I will drop everything and find a way to come and see it" because I just really took him to heart during those two performances. I would have adored to see him play my favourite Carbucketty - but on the condition my amazing favourite ever Carbucketty Joel Morris wasn't injured/ill and was actually on for Mistoffelees, and really to me that would be some sort of dream come true and if it ever happened I would cry with joy for the whole show most likely!! Matthew is just a special performer and a special human being, and I really, truly took him to heart in every way. In Liverpool, when I finally did get the chance to speak to him properly, he was one of the sweetest, kindest people on the planet, recognising me, remembering me, chatting with me and, ultimately, helping me stalk a few of his castmates through the train station so I could get a picture with them before I went home that night! It was the funniest, loveliest thing! Of course, I can't speak for Matthew, but I honestly feel like that first encounter of ours is something so important because, certainly for me, it's stuck with me that I was there the night this gorgeous, talented little swing did this amazing, important thing and I'm one of the only people who knew it and I just HAD to let him know it had mattered not just to the show but to people - or at least one person - out there in the auditorium, because I think that is so important for any performer to know, but especially a swing as they so rarely will be directly told it. I don't know if it stayed with him the same way, but it will always mean a lot to me, for sure, and Matthew is so good at making me feel appreciated too, so I would certainly like to imagine, hopefully not too egotistically, that neither one of us has ever forgotten that surreal first meeting at the Cats stage door! He always has treated me with so much love and kindness and I like to think that extra-mile I went for him means we always have a slightly more special way of treating each other. That night I so wanted just to put a little goodness into his world and he has beyond returned that goodness to me and then some. I've developed the biggest soft spot for the little swing who could, he's possibly my favourite of my favourites now! I was so gutted to find out he was leaving the tour with its cast change, but I vowed to keep up with him.
You are the loveliest thing - the loveliest thing. My heart turns over when I see your beautiful face.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald