June 25, 2014

Teen Hall of Fame: Kodi Mattox, sophomore, Notre Dame de Namur University

Teen Hall of Fame winner Kodi Mattox, a Downey High graduate, is an artistically gifted individual with a blossoming passion for musical theater and arts.

Kodi Mattox, a Downey High graduate, is an artistically gifted individual with a blossoming passion for musical theater and arts.

At Downey, Mattox maintained a rigorous schedule in the field of the arts, enrolling in classes such as choir, dance and drama. “I was one of those thespians who had their locker covered in Broadway magnets,” he reminisced. Throughout high school, he starred in several productions, including “Hello Dolly,” “Oklahoma” and “Legally Blonde. “

Mattox’s curiosity for theatrical arts was ignited in his early childhood by Disney movies, especially “Beauty and the Beast.” He began his journey into the arts in the eighth grade when he auditioned for YES Kids’ production of “Aladdin Jr.” With perseverance and enthusiasm, he landed the antagonistic character of Jafar. “When I stepped out on stage as Jafar with my scepter, robe and bedazzled Birkenstocks, I knew the direction in which my life was heading.”

Nevertheless, as he grew older, he found his true inspiration for the arts through “The Phantom of the Opera.” When he was 12, Mattox attended the national tour and vividly saw the movie come to life on stage. “The beautiful music united with the dazzling sets and imperial costumes lured me into this world of imagination and creation; the world of musical theater,” he said.

Mattox credits “The Phantom of the Opera” for cultivating his desire and passion to perform and recognizes that “High School Musical” and “The Cheetah Girls” have also reflected heavily upon his decision to pursue a musical theater major at Notre Dame de Namur University, where he will be a sophomore.

Mattox has been affiliated with YES Company since middle school, an experience that has played a fundamental role in his life. Not only has it provided him with numerous opportunities in theater, from starring as Willy Wonka in the production “Willy Wonka” to playing Tateh in last year’s production, “Ragtime,” but YES Company also has allowed Mattox to express his musical and theatrical gifts to a broader audience and inspire the youth to discover a passion worth fighting for.

Lisa Stegall-Dokoozlian, the marketing director for YES Company, said: “Kodi has had many personal and family dynamic challenges, yet always remains a positive individual. He refuses to let obstacles get in his way of moving forward and reaching towards his goals and dreams.”

Mattox fervidly continues to give his all to musical theater. In 2013, he participated in Valley’s Got Talent, in which he was a finalist. He has also been nominated for the Elly Award for his performance as Willy Wonka and by BroadwayWorld San Francisco for his role as Tateh in “Ragtime.”

When asked about the lesson nurtured through the thrills experienced on stage, Mattox said:

“I’ve learned to live by the energy that connects us all: love. We as actors learned and proved every time we performed together that when we as beings open up our hearts, we can create something truly magical regardless of how diverse and unfamiliar our surroundings may be.”

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