By Tiffany Chan

PAXTON (CBS) – At first glance, Matt Divito looks like your typical 17-year-old, but he’s defied all odds after being diagnosed with autism and Tourette’s at a young age. The Rutland teen landed the lead role in his community production of “Elf the Musical.” It’s Matt’s eighth play, but the first where he’ll take center stage.

“I wanted to play Buddy the Elf because he’s a jolly person and he tells kids not to bad things when Santa’s not around,” said Divito.

He’s somewhat of a triple threat: acting, dancing and singing on stage at Anna Maria College – talents that come naturally for Matt.

Matt Divito during dress rehearsal of “Elf The Musical” (WBZ-TV)

“It’s been pretty good. It’s pretty easy for me,” he said. “I memorize it in my brain and I learn it pretty fast.”

But it hasn’t always been an easy road for his family.

“It’s amazing. We’ve gone through the whole roller coaster of emotions. Finding out your son is autistic is devastating,” said Matt’s father, Jon Divito.

Matt Divito during dress rehearsal of “Elf The Musical” (WBZ-TV)

You can only imagine how thrilled his parents were when they found out he won’t only be acting in the play – he’ll be starring in it.

“Everything this kid does is just amazing. He does it with a smile on his face. Things are very difficult for him, but this play – he has a beautiful voice,” said Jon. “He really is a real life Buddy. We’re very proud of him.”

Matt told WBZ-TV he’s not nervous at all, but excited for opening night on Friday. He hopes it lands him one step closer to being on the big screen.

“I love acting and I want to be famous so people can see me and like me!” he said.

Tiffany Chan


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