09.05.2021

There’s a Reason Theater Fans Will Recognize This Actress in Stranger Things

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Pizzolo is new to Stranger Things and new to the Netflix family, but she’s already got several credits on her young résumé. As you might have guessed from her hilariously awesome singing duet with Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin, she’s got a musical background, starring in lead roles in two of the buzziest musicals of the past decade. From December 2013 to September 2014, she made her Broadway debut as one of the four young actresses rotating in the lead role of Matilda the Musical. Then, from March 2015 to September 2016, she was in the Broadway company of Fun Home. She began as a swing covering all the children’s roles, then stepped into the role of “Small Alison,” the childhood version of cartoonist Alison Bechdel, for several months until the show’s closing.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: Gabriella Pizzolo from the cast of 'Fun Home' performs during 106.7 LITE FM's Broadway in Bryant Park on July 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)

Ah, young love. Amongst all the thrills, Stranger Things doesn’t shy away from its young romances, from sweet young lovebirds Mike and El to longtime love interests Jonathan and Nancy. But in the third season, an unexpected love blossoms: awkward Dustin finally gets a girlfriend, Suzie, and is able to prove that she’s real at exactly the right time – by singing a duet over the radio with her! Suzie made a big impact in her short screen time, so here’s what you need to know about the talented actress who plays her!

Just after closing Fun Home, Pizzolo joined the New York City Center’s production of Sunday in the Park With George, which costarred Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford. She played Louise, the young daughter of a pair of artists. That year also was a busy year for Pizzolo because it marked her television debut. That Summer, she appeared on CBS’s political satire BrainDead as the younger version of leading lady Laurel (played as an adult by Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

In 2017, Pizzolo once again played the younger version of a character in the remake of Beaches. In this, she played young C.C., the younger version of the character played by Tony winner Idina Menzel. She returned to the stage that year as well, playing Opal in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival production of Because of Winn-Dixie. She’s set to continue sharing her lovely voice with fans, with a second season of her animated series Butterbean’s Cafe just ordered by Nickelodeon – and we hope we’ll get to see her again on Stranger Things sometime in the fourth season!

Stranger Things Season 3’s Rat Problem Is a Total Season 2 Throwback

Stranger Things

Warning: Spoilers ahead for season three of Stranger Things!

Stranger Things pushes the level of grossness it can get away with in a major way in season three, and it all starts with the rats of Hawkins, IN, mysteriously exploding. Sure, Netflix warned us that rats would play a key role in the story this year, but we had no idea they would be so . . . well, disgusting. After watching all eight episodes, you may still be asking why the rats were exploding in Stranger Things, and the answer is they were suffering the same fate as the possessed humans. It seems the Mind Flayer is a creative thinker, because he recruits rodents to start his Flayed army – and it’s possible that they even play a role in infecting the humans.

Nancy is the first to realize there’s something not right with Hawkins’s rat population when she starts answering calls from citizens who are missing fertilizer and chemicals. It turns out that the rats have been feasting on these toxic goods, but it’s not instantly killing them as it should. Instead, their banquet of lethal materials causes a reaction that ultimately leads to them exploding into sentient blobs of goo. It’s not entirely clear how the Mind Flayer knows the right combination of man-made items for the rodents to consume in order to trigger a reaction that will turn them into a blob capable of fusing with other blobs to create a monster, but clearly this Upside Down resident has a gift for science.

The gang realizes that mixing chemicals can create a new substance entirely (thanks, Mr. Clarke!) the minute they spot a counter full of cleaning supplies that were used as snack food. They also point out that the hosts aren’t entirely human, which is why the rats (and the people) don’t simply drop dead. Instead they explode, leaving behind a gooey substance that can combine with other former rats and humans to become the Flayed. The evolutionary process that begins after the rats explode is reminiscent of what happens in season two when Dart starts off as a slug before feeding on Mews to become a demodog. As wild as it may seem, it appears that the Mind Flayer is simply applying the same technique he uses to create soldiers in the Upside Down to the rats and citizens of Hawkins. The rats exploding is a simple evolutionary tactic to make them better suited to do the bidding of the Mind Flayer in our reality, making the whole process not just gross, but also a terrifying testament to the power that this monster wields.

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