Max Bartos Is Finding His Groove
Max Bartos is best known for originating the role of Darren in Sing Street the musical both on and off Broadway. At 11 years old, Max was involved in a life threatening bike crash which caused traumatic brain injury and sidelined him from playing sports but miraculously gave him the ability to have perfect pitch jump starting his Broadway career. Max has participated in many pre-Broadway workshops including the new Frank Wildhorn musical The Song of Bernadette. In addition to his work on the great white way, Max has been in such films as Uncut Gems with Adam Sandler, The Most Dangerous Man with Paul Logan and Young Shane in Shane Dawson’s film The Lottery. A self taught musician, he plays six instruments including both acoustic and electric guitar as well as piano, drums, bass, banjo, and mandolin. He is a verified artist on Spotify, releasing one single and the concept rock opera Such is Life. A frontman for several emo/pop punk bands, Max performs and tours consistently all over the East Coast. He is the lyricist, composer, and book writer of two new musicals including an adaptation of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and a musical adaption of the Spoon River Anthology. When not working, Max enjoys boxing, practicing magic, and building legos.
HI, WELCOME TO ABOUT INSIDER! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS MAX BARTOS IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
Thanks so much for asking me to do this! I would say I’m just a guy who loves to create things. I love writing music, I love performing in theatrical productions, I love making art. I’m very passionate about what I do.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE ORIGINATING THE ROLE OF DARREN IN SING STREET ON BROADWAY?
It was truly a dream come true! Getting the opportunity to work with that creative team, and such an incredible cast, was truly a gift. I learned so much from that experience, and I’m excited to venture forward and use what I learned in new shows. I’m still super close with the whole cast and creative team, and they are the most amazing people I know.
HOW DID YOUR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY FROM YOUR BIKE ACCIDENT AFFECT YOUR BROADWAY CAREER?
After my bike accident, I was unable to do sports, which was pretty much my whole life up until that point. A close family friend said to me that once you are unable to do the things you used to be able to do, art and music will always be there for you. So while I was in concussion recovery, I started learning guitar and piano, and the rest is history!
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN PRE-BROADWAY WORKSHOPS AND YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING ON FRANK WILDHORN’S THE SONG OF BERNADETTE?
Yeah! Workshops are truly some of my favorite things to do. I love getting into a room with fellow creatives and throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks. “The Song of Bernadette” was truly such an incredible experience. The cast was absolutely incredible, and most of them were my idols. Getting the opportunity to work alongside that cast and creative team was truly an out of body experience. Frank Wildhorn has always been one of my favorite composers, and working with him was an honor.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK IN FILM, INCLUDING YOUR ROLES IN UNCUT GEMS AND THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN?
As much as music and musical theater are my passions, I also love doing film. Being in “Uncut Gems” was truly surreal. Adam Sandler was truly the nicest guy ever, I never thought in a million years I would ever meet him, let alone be in a movie with him! “The Most Dangerous” man was also really fun. I was the youngest person in the cast, so everybody treated me like a little brother, which was really fun!
HOW DID YOU BECOME A SELF-TAUGHT MUSICIAN AND WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO YOU PLAY?
I started teaching myself how to play instruments while in concussion recovery, because there was nothing else I could do. I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t really read or write without getting dizzy, so I started teaching myself guitar, and I listened to a lot of music. Currently, I play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, piano/synth, drums, banjo, mandolin, trumpet.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK AS A VERIFIED ARTIST ON SPOTIFY AND YOUR CONCEPT ROCK OPERA SUCH IS LIFE?
I released my album “Such is Life” in October 2021, and I truly view that as the springboard into where I’m going with my next album, which I am recording right now. “Such is Life” is a concept album about a person going through the trials and tribulations of love in the modern age. It was very sonically inspired by Green Day, probably because they are my favorite band, and I had also just finished playing the lead in a production of “American Idiot”. This next album leans a little bit more into folk influences. I’m very inspired by Duncan Sheik and Glen Hansard, but with the theatricality of Gerard Way and “My Chemical Romance”.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A FRONTMAN FOR EMO/POP PUNK BANDS AND YOUR TOURING SCHEDULE ON THE EAST COAST?
Music is truly my love. It’s what I feel like I was put on this earth to do, and the fact that I get to play music live for people around the East Coast, and hopefully branching out soon, is such a gift. I’ve been in a couple of bands, but, just like relationships, they can fall apart. So I’ve decided to embark on a new journey of being a solo artist with an incredible backing band.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS AS A LYRICIST, COMPOSER, AND BOOK WRITER FOR TWO NEW MUSICALS, INCLUDING AN ADAPTATION OF HG WELLS’ THE INVISIBLE MAN AND A MUSICAL ADAPTION OF THE SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY?
Yeah! I’m composing a couple of shows right now, but my two favorites are an adaptation of “Spoon River Anthology”, which had its first reading in July 2022, and I am in the process of tweaking it and improving it. And the other is an adaptation of HG Wells’s science fiction novel “The Invisible Man”. I love the old universal monster movies, and it’s always been my dream to turn a story like that into a musical.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME, INCLUDING BOXING, PRACTICING MAGIC, AND BUILDING LEGOS?
I have two cats (Desmond and Phantom), so they keep me pretty occupied, I also go to the boxing gym four times a week, and it’s truly one of my favorite things to do! It’s very therapeutic. I have ADHD, so Lego building is very helpful in calming down my brain and allowing me to focus on just one thing at a time.
WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ONLINE?
Thanks so much for having me! You can find me on Instagram @max_bartos and Tiktok @officialmaxbartos!