NORMAN — Mat Govich has seen the lights of Broadway, even been on New York City stages, but he is content to be back in Oklahoma and on the stages in Norman and in the area.
Having completed performances as Cornelius in the Sooner Theatre production of “Hello Dolly,” he said he never gets over the thrill of hearing the applause of an audience.
“It is a euphoric feeling,” he said, one he wants to experience again and again.
Theater “wasn’t on the radar” when he was growing up, the son of voice coaches Dr. Marilyn Govich and the late Dr. Bruce Govich.
Sure, the family sang around the piano, he said, and dad coached him when he was preparing for high school vocal competition. In addition to singing, Govich played the cello and was on stage in the high school plays, but it was sports that dominated his world.
“Basketball, baseball, football, bowling, golf, darts and being big” are listed as special skills on the resume of this 6-foot 4-inch fellow whose dream of a baseball career was cut short with an injury when he was 16.
Attending University of Central Oklahoma on a cello scholarship, it was there that he discovered theater. Before he left Oklahoma for New York City after graduation with a master’s degree he had a long list of stage roles including four seasons in “Oklahoma” at Discoveryland.
“My first role in ‘Oklahoma’ was as Jud,” he said.
After that first season, his baritone voice was heard in the lead role of Curley. It was on the “Oklahoma” stage that he first met Sooner Theatre Executive Director Jennifer Baker.
Heading for New York City was a major move and one he wouldn’t have tried without the encouragement of his mother and his sister, Milena Govich, who was making a name for herself.