Check out our interview with Netflix’s musical film 13: The Musical actress Gabriella Uhl.

Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name that ignited Ariana Grande’s professional career, Uhl stars as “Patrice,” Ruth’s next-door neighbor (Rhea Perlman) who becomes one of Evan’s new friends. A young environmental activist who has her sights beyond Walkerton, Indiana, she struggles to fit in with the popular kids at school – a problem made worse when Evan invites them to his Bar Mitzvah. Patrice never stops fighting for what she believes in and stays true to herself.

The New York native grew up in a musical family as her father plays trumpet in Broadway pits and her mother, a professional clarinetist. Trained in classical ballet, modern, tap, and jazz Gabriella found her passion for performing at a very early age, originating the role of “Sophie” (and understudy for “Summer,” “Tomika, “Shonelle,” and “Marcy”) in the Broadway National Tour of “School of Rock the Musical.”

Follow Gabriella @gabriellauhl

Hi Gabriella, please tell us a little about you?

Hi! I’m 14 years old and I am the youngest of three. Some things I love: my dog Oscar; traveling; the winter holiday season; and Broadway.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Persistent, trusting, compassionate.

How did you get into acting?

I started dancing when I was almost 4 years old and I loved being on stage so much that I asked my parents to find every possible opportunity for me to perform.

How has acting changed your life?

I love my life and I think I’m really lucky to have the opportunities I have. Acting has changed my life by becoming the focus of my life — I don’t have a “typical” 14-year old experience. I am homeschooled, I spend a lot of hours studying dance, voice, and acting, and I consider my obligations and goals in every decision I make.

What is the best and worst part of being an actress?

The best part is getting to do what I love — perform. I even love preparing for and doing auditions. The hardest part is that my friends are scattered all over and I don’t get to see them in person very often.

How do you prepare for a role?

I am usually told a little something about the character, who she is, what she cares about or wants. I take that information and I think about how I would speak, interact, and move my body if I were that character.

Tell us about your work in the highly anticipated Netflix film ’13: The Musical.’

“13: The Musical” was my first movie and it was so exciting to spend time on set and learn the ways making a movie were the same and different from being in a theater production. We spent several weeks rehearsing music and recording the soundtrack, and I really enjoyed that.

And about your role as Patrice.

Patrice was my dream role since I was 6 years old and my older sister was in a youth theatre production of “13.” Patrice cares very deeply about things but struggles to fit in with the other kids at school. It was a challenge to create that kind of conflict on camera with the other cast members because we were all friends off-camera.

What other projects have you been part of?

I toured North America for almost 2 years with the 1st National Tour of “School of Rock.” I’ve also done some regional theater.

What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?

I’m definitely open to anything but I especially love to work on complex characters who are more than what meets the eye. I like to play characters that make people think twice about how they judge my character. I of course love to play any character that sings, too.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

In the entertainment business, there’s the thrill of making audiences feel something in the moment you’re performing, but it’s also really cool when there’s some record — a film, a picture, a video, a soundtrack — that I can go back to forever and see what I did at that moment in time.

What’s your advice for those wanting to become an actor?

Working in this business is a huge commitment and my family needs to consider my obligations in everything we do and decide together. It’s also really important that you and the people who support you appreciate, if not love, everything about the work: training, auditioning, the performances themselves, and everything that comes after. We spend so much more time preparing for performances than actually performing, and we have to really buy into everything we do in that time.

What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?

The casting process can be really complicated and it’s important to not get discouraged. The best performer isn’t always the best person for the role. Sometimes the actor has to look the same or different from another cast member or has to embody a character in a way that someone can only do naturally–it can’t be directed or taught.

How would your best friend describe you?

They’d say I’m obsessed with my dog (they’re not wrong), I laugh a lot, and I’m really dedicated to training and achieving my goals.

If you were a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

“Waiting in the Wings,” because so much of a performer’s life is spent waiting for your turn in the spotlight.

What advice would you give your younger self and why?

Younger Gabriella was fearless and didn’t worry about what other people thought of her. I’d tell her to hold onto that self-confidence and never let it go.

What’s next for Gabriella Uhl in 2022?

Professionally, I can’t tell you about things that haven’t been announced but personally? I’m starting 10th grade and continuing my studies in voice and dance.

What is your favorite healthy food?

SUSHI!!

And your favorite cheat food?

French fries with ketchup and other dipping sauces.

What is your own definition of happiness?

I’m happiest when I’ve taken care of all of my tasks and there’s nothing on my to-do list.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d love, love, love to meet Julie Andrews because she is the queen of movie musicals. She’s everything I want to be.

Best advice ever given?

When I was touring with “School of Rock,” I understudied a bunch of roles and when I’d go on for one, Chris DeAngelis, the dance captain, would remind me to focus on one scene at a time. This applies to life in general, too.

Do you support a charity?

Yes, I believe in and donate to an organization called Maestra. It was founded by Georgia Stitt, who was the amazing music director for “13: The Musical,” and it serves to amplify the presence of women in the Broadway music industry.

Where do you see yourself and your career 5 years from now?

It’s hard to predict because this business is full of surprises, but I really hope I keep earning lots of opportunities to sing and tell stories on stage and screen.

Favorite song?

How can I choose one? I love music. One of my favorite songs is “Cinema” by Harry Styles.

What do you think of social media?

On one hand, social media can be a platform for fun and sharing experiences, but on the other hand, it can be a lot of effort and can definitely make people feel like they’re missing out on things. I don’t really post that much because I believe some things can be personal. I like to make the posts I do share show who I really am.

Where can we follow you?

My Instagram is @gabriellauhl

Favorities

Book: I love the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series!

Quote: “The universe is unfolding as it should.” from Desiderata

Movie: The Holiday

TV Series: Friends

Travel Destination: Disney World!

Sports Team: I don’t really follow sports, but my father and brother are big fans of my father’s alma mater, the Iowa State University Cyclones so I get roped into cheering for them in all sports!

 


 

Photo Credit: Corinne Louie