Entertainer doesn’t break a leg on stage, but splits open his chin
Before a performance, entertainers are often told to “break a leg.” Yet actor and singer Matt Foerschler has never complied during any of his 600 live theatrical performances.
He has, however, split open his chin. Got stitches during intermission. And returned to finish the same show.
It all happened a while back, when Foerschler sang tenor in a French opera: Offenbach’s “La Perichole.” Playing a soldier in a bar, Foerschler stood on a stool make a toast. The stool collapsed. His chin hit a goblet and parted like the Red Sea. Then, ouch! A river of blood.
Foerschler figured he needed stitches, based on the gasps from the opera’s production manager. So, the two made a trip to a nearby emergency room.
“That happened around Halloween,” says Foerschler. “I was in partial costume with T-shirt, pants, suspenders and boots, and the production manager was dressed up Goth style.
“When we arrived at the ER, we knew doctors and nurses were just looking at us saying, ‘Drugs’ – which wasn’t the case – and shaking their heads.”
Foerschler wore a beard – now bloody – as part of his character and wanted to keep it in tact; amazingly, the medical staff complied.
“I told the doctor I needed my beard. So, the doctor stitched me up without trimming any whiskers, like is normally done for stitches.”
Then it was back to the theater. And on with the show.
Building a career
Such discipline, such diligence, is part of Foerschler’s makeup. And it comes in handy at H&R Block’s world headquarters, where he’s a principal architect in information technology.
Although Foerschler boasts a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Kansas, he’s largely self-taught when it comes to IT. He built his 30-year career in software design on a childhood passion and plenty of on-the-job training.
“I’ve been fascinated by electronics since I was 9 years old,” when he liked to tinker with ham radio equipment, says Foerschler.
By the time he was in college during the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, Foerschler was making money off that interest: He worked at a Radio Shack selling personal computers, which back then were the size of convection ovens. Eventually, he bought a behemoth and programmed it on his own.
That experience dovetailed nicely with Foerschler’s educational pursuit: a 4-year-degree in electrical engineering. Until Calculus 121 figured in. Pure math was a struggle, so he switched majors to vocal music – another talent he’d unearthed during childhood.
“I can’t repeat what my parents said when I changed from engineering to music,” says Foerschler. “But they knew I wanted to do it.”
So did Foerschler. “I was good at two things: electronics and music.”
Since engineering was out, music was in.
Building a repertoire
Over the years, Foerschler found ways to incorporate both interests, by working days at various computer companies and spending nights on stage. He:
- Has sung over 30 roles with various opera companies, including at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in Missouri (where’s he’s been a member for 38 years), the Des Moines Metro Opera in Iowa, and the Florentine Opera Center of Milwaukee in Wisconsin.
- Has appeared in over 130 productions
- Can be heard in roles on two opera recordings:
- “Coyote Tales” by Henry Mollicone, Newport Classics, 1998
- “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Douglas Moore, Newport Classics, 1996
Today, Foerschler also appears in musical theater, including his current gig as the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” at the Topeka Civic Theatre in Kansas.
But whether he’s under the spotlight or on the clock, Foerschler brings a holistic approach to his pursuits:
“Everything I’m involved with is a team effort, whether I’m at work or on stage,” says Foerschler. “One person may be in the spotlight for a while, but there’s always plenty of people behind the scenes, backing them up.”
Dave Pond likes to tell stories. He writes and edits content for H&R Block’s online and downloadable tax software at its world headquarters.
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