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Quaker Valley grad's work pays off as string of theater achievements grows

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Matthew Hydzik, a graduate of Quaker Valley High School, performs in 'Flashdance — The Musical.'

It's been 10 years since Sewickley Hills native Matthew Hydzik had his first acting job, and since then, the 1999 Quaker Valley High School graduate has toured all over the United States and abroad.As he continues his career with the musical “Side Show,” in California, he said he feels blessed to make a living doing what he loves.

Last month, Hydzik, 32, finished a nine-month national tour playing the lead role of Nick in “Flashdance — The Musical,” which premiered at Heinz Hall in January. The day after his contract ended, he began working on “Side Show.”

The musical will premiere at La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla, Calif., Nov. 5 through Dec. 15 and in The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Eisenhower Theater in Washington, June 14 through July 13.

Nominated for four Tony Awards in 1998, “Side Show” is based on the true story of British-born conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, who toured the United States in the 1930s as a circus side show act.

Hydzik describes his character, Buddy, as a “song-and-dance business man” of Vaudeville. He and his partner make the girls stars, and Buddy falls in )love with Violet.

“And it's funny, because I married my own Violet,” he said with a laugh. He and his wife of three years, Megan Arnoldy, originally from Apollo, were in the same musical together at Penn State University, and she played Violet.

Although they met at Penn State, they didn't start dating until they met up again in New York and performed together in “Fame” in South Korea in 2005.

After “Fame,” Hydzik said he had an opportunity for another tour, but he said he had promised his mother, Cathy, he would go back and finish his musical theater degree at Penn State.

So he left New York, got a small apartment in State College, did his homework, and made good on his promise. Almost every weekend, he drove to New York to see Arnoldy

At the end of 2009, he took over the lead of Tony in “West Side Story,” on Broadway for a little over a year.

From there, he stuck around New York for awhile with “Tomorrow Morning” and “Could Have Been You.”

Last summer, he performed in “Surf the Musical” at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, then moved on to tour with “Flashdance.”

Cathy Hydzik said when she and her husband, Ed, heard their son sing at Sewickley Academy's Performing Art Camp when he was 10 years old, they knew he had talent.

“I could just see it. I could see how much he loved it. And, to be successful at this, you have to have a passion for it,” said Cathy, who used to sew costumes for the camp.

Hydzik said his work doesn't feel like a job to him. He always tries to stay positive that when one performance ends, another opportunity will be there for him.

But, he said he never waits around for opportunity to find him.

“You always have to actively be looking for the next job. You have to be alert, read about what's coming, talk to friends, and be willing to drive or fly to the next audition.”

“You can't be passive in this business.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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