Setting the stage for success


Lillian Gottschling

In an Oct. 31 dress rehearsal, actors prepare for the upcoming opening night of “Matilda: The Musical.”

The award-winning musical, Matilda, premiered on Broadway in 2013. It was adapted from the book “Matilda” by Roald Dahl that had been published Oct. 1, 1988. This year, the Performing Arts Center (PAC) put on a production of “Matilda” for their fall musical.

The plot follows a young girl, Matilda Wormwood, growing up in a poor household with parents that don’t want her. She loves to read and learn and knows so much that she is considered a genius. Her parents resent her for it, and want her to be ‘normal.’ 

When she enlists in school, her teacher, Miss Honey, soon finds out about Matilda’s gifted mind. As they get to know each other, they grow close, developing an almost mother-daughter relationship. Miss Honey is played by Sofia Gomez, junior, who enacted the kind and maternal nature of the character well. Gomez has the acting experience that ranges from high school productions to regional plays in the Portland area. 

Miss Trunchbull is the headmistress of the school. She abuses the kids and does not care for them to learn. Trunchbull is played by Ian Krubel, junior, who did an amazing job staying in character. He maintained his voice and kept in character the whole time, which seemed challenging due to the intensity of the character he was playing. 

Throughout the story, Matilda would visit the library and tell the librarian a story she was coming up with, in her head. A story about an escapologist and an acrobat who fall in love and have everything they want in the world, except for a child. 

When they finally have a child the acrobat dies and the escapologist is murdered by his sister. When Matilda tells this story to Miss Honey, they figure out Miss Honey is the child from the story. 

Matilda suddenly develops telekinetic powers and helps Miss Honey confront Miss Trunchbull, who they figure out is her aunt, who killed her father and took her home. After the confrontation, Matilda loses her powers and Miss Honey’s father’s things are returned to her. 

When the issue is resolved, Matilda must still deal with her home life. Her father tries to cheat some Russian men in a sale and flee the country, but he gets caught. 

[Evan McCreary] executed his role perfectly, maintaining his accent and moving smoothly throughout his scenes.

When the Russians come for the family, Matilda talks them down and gets her family off the hook. The head of the Russian mafia is Sergei, played by Evan McCreary, senior. He executed his role perfectly, maintaining his accent and moving smoothly throughout his scenes. He is the co-president of Thespian Troupe 1915 and dreams of pursuing a career in performing arts after high school. 

Although Matilda saved her family from the Russians, they still flee and choose to leave her with Miss Honey, making Matilda very happy. 

The musical was very good. The production was great, the lighting used many colors, focuses, and variations of brightness that helped understand the tone of the scenes. The set was well built, it left some to the imagination but provided a base for the actors to move around in. 

The actors’ singing was impressive, to say the least. Their voices were flooded with emotion and they portrayed their characters wonderfully. 

My favorite characters were Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, played by juniors Sophia Burden and Thomas Greyerbiehl. They encapsulated the audience’s attention, playing the role of self-centered parents who hate their daughter, and made it funny and believable. 

The pit orchestra played wonderfully, adding to the experience. Without the band, it wouldn’t have been the same. It is evident that the students and staff who partook in this play worked really hard to make it as good as it was.