LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Gabriel Ebert fell in love with the theater watching Denver area shows with his father, Barry. Now Gabriel is nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the new Broadway musical “Matilda.”

CBS4 Critic at Large Greg Moody went searching for Gabriel’s roots in Lakewood.

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“Gabe Ebert is the kind of actor I admire most. He works hard, he works his craft, he’s found success, but his goal is to be a working actor, and he got that work ethic right here,” Moody said.

Gabriel has been nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Harry Wormwood, Matilda’s father in the hit Broadway musical “Matilda.”

“I think Gabe kind of came in knowing what he was here to do, and he’s been doing it since he was really little,” Gabriel’s father Rev. Barry Ebert said. “He was in the Colorado’s Children Corral for seven years and learned a lot about performance and preparation and discipline in there, and went to the Denver School of the Arts.”

After a stint at Julliard and a few off Broadway roles, Gabriel landed “Matilda,” where he’s had fun, learned a lot, made contacts, and was never expecting a Tony nomination.

“I think they expected that ‘Matilda’ would get some nominations. I don’t really think that he expected that he would get one,” Barry said. “So he was really surprised by it and pleased by it.”

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Gabriel still returns from time to time to perform at Mile High Church where his father is a minister, but the theater has him — it has him good.

”He loves theater. He loves working on plays and this is his thing,” his father said.

“So, when the Tony Awards hit CBS on June 9, think of Gabe,” Moody said. “If he wins that’s great. If not, there’s still more to learn and ways to grow in New York theater.”

“It will unfold in its own time. I think he just wants to go about the work of being an actor,” Barry said.

– Greg Moody is CBS4’s Critic At Large. His reports on CBS4 News are featured on the Entertainment section.

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– Also, don’t miss Moody’s entertaining bio, his Top Spots in Denver lists, and his frequently updated Moody’s Picks page.