Sugar Grove resident lands ‘Les Miserables’ role

By on April 20, 2014
Matthew Uzarraga

SUGAR GROVE—Matthew Uzarraga is an 11-year-old fifth-grader who is home schooled by his mother, Estrellita.

He’s also a professional actor.

Uzarraga will play the role of Gavroche from “Les Miserables” at Drury Lane Theatre from now until June 8 on select dates. Opening day for the musical was last week.

“(Matthew) is an amazing actor,” said William Osetek, artistic director for Drury Lane. “For somebody who is as young as he is, you’d have to search high and low to find somebody of that caliber.”

For his part in “Les Miserables,” Matthew will sing solos and act the part of a boy who has a rough life, sent by his parents to live on the street.

“Gavroche, his personality is different than mine,” Matthew said. “Gavroche is tough and he’s an orphan. He looks up to the students and he’s never really had parents. He always tries to act a lot more mature than he really is and his age.”

Matthew is no stranger to the stage. He made his acting start on the community stage through the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival Committee (now known as the Kaneland Arts Initiative) at Kaneland High School when he was just 8 years old. His mom played the role of the farmer’s wife in “Music Man.” Matthew played the farmer’s son.

He even remembers his one line from the show—“Good evening, Mayor Shin”—and that it felt “exciting” to be on stage as a young boy.

He remembers hearing the applause from the audience, too.

“I was very happy because I knew that my performance made them happy,” Matthew said.

Matthew has performed for Chicago Shakespeare, Drury Lane Theatre, KAI and Paramount Theatre. He’s been in the theatre ensemble and has cartwheeled in “Oliver!,” played Baby Bear and a young Shrek, and has made a cameo in “Miss Saigon.”

Matthew is quick to identify what makes acting so great for him.

“I like pretending to be somebody else,” he said. “To be somebody else and a different kind of life that I am in.”

Matthew has also been in a Shout cleaner TV commercial that aired on the Internet. He played the role of one of the children who took back the idea of having fun and getting messy.
Estrellita called seeing Matthew on the screen “surreal.”

Matthew’s brother, Zachary, a third-grader, is also a professional actor. He recalled some acting tips that he learned from his big brother.

“I learned that you’ve always got to be prepared,” Zachary said. “And you always have to (follow) direction and make sure your blocking is always right and you’re on the beat.”

As for future acting in years to come, Matthew does not yet have that scene set.

“For now, it’s just a fun hobby to do,” he said.

For more information or to purchase tickets to “Les Miserables,” go to drurylane.com or call (630) 530-0111.

Courtesy Photo

About Stefanie Frazier

Stefanie Frazier is a freelance reporter for the Elburn Herald. You can reach her at SFrazier@elburnherald.com.

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