Meet Justin Matthew Sargent and Jason Gotay, Broadway’s newest superheroes and the latest actors to take flight in Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.
Growing up in the Tampa, FL, area, Justin Matthew Sargent experienced a bit of bullying in middle school and high school — much like Peter Parker, the character that he plays six nights a week in Broadway’s Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark. However, Sargent knew that something special was in store for him and even imagined growing up to become a superhero — a birthmark on his wrist was in the same spot as Spider-Man’s “web-shooters.” After shedding over 100 lbs. and finding solace in community theatre, his path became clear, and Sargent earned his BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Central Florida. Shortly after his college graduation, he auditioned for the Broadway-bound Spider-Man, received a callback and — although he wasn’t chosen as the musical’s first superhero — landed his first Broadway credit (Rock of Ages). Rock of Ages led to a stint in the short-lived show Bonnie & Clyde before he returned to the 1980s-inspired musical to star as leading man Drew.
Sargent now plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the high-flying musical (featuring a score by Bono and The Edge with a book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa), succeeding original star Reeve Carney, who starred in the role for three years. Following his first month-and-a-half of performances, Playbill.com caught up with the show’s newest leading man.
At Reeve Carney’s final performance, the production announced that you would take over as the next Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Tell me about that moment, where he “passed on the torch.”
Justin Matthew Sargent: It was emotional, especially for Reeve. You could see it on his face. He was saying goodbye to this show. It had to have been tough for him, and I felt a little strange. I felt like it was a moment for him to have and a moment for him to say thank you to the cast, the crew and the audience. I was very, very grateful that he wanted to share that moment with me and introduce me as the new Peter Parker/Spider-Man. It was just a really nice, honest moment.