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The Miracle of Matilda

Review of Maclay’s “Matilda: The Musical”

Photo by Blair Bayliss/Maclay Andalusian

On April 4 through April 7, the Maclay Theatre Company took the stage for their production of “Matilda: The Musical,” which is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel “Matilda.” It was directed by Millie Seckel, along with musical director Adia J. Seckel, lighting and program designer Cindy Thomas and sound engineer Kyle Baker. 

“Matilda: The Musical,” adapted by Dennis Kelly and music by Tim Minchin, follows the young Matilda Wormwood, played by middle schoolers Nina Cherniavsky and Emeri Wisotsky, who possesses incredible intelligence and psychokinetic powers. She is unloved by her cruel parents at home, the cunning businessman Mr. Wormwood played by sophomore Bryson Willis, and snobby ballroom dancer Ms. Wormwood, played by freshman Xenia Cherniavsky. But at school, Matilda is loved by her kind teacher Miss Honey played by freshman Ella Pike.

An amazing aspect of this show was the set design. From Miss Honey’s classroom to the school courtyard, every single set was beautiful and detailed. The stage manager, junior Gabby Dattoli, along with stage crew members Maclay alumna Chari Beamer, freshman Lauren Conn and freshman Nidhi Ponnaganti, also played a big part in making this set magical, moving all the props around behind the scenes, which is no easy task. The set was designed and built by Stephen Seckel and A. Seckel and painted by Jack Seckel, which gave the actors a beautiful backdrop to tell the story behind them. 

“Matilda: The Musical” is a very elaborate show that includes big musical numbers with singing and dancing, along with the acting they have to do to stay in character. This cast did a great job with these musical numbers, but no show is ever perfect, and the only critique to give would be the singing. At some points in the show, when the actors were trying to juggle the song and dance at the same time, there was a bit of shakiness in their notes and timing issues with the music. However, that is not to say that for most of the show the vocals were flawless and even when there was a lack in the vocals, the actors were shining with their amazing stage presence. Singing and dancing on stage requires a lot of adrenaline, and even though there were a few small mistakes, the cast of “Matilda: The Musical” handled everything professionally and presented an amazing show. 

This cast is made up of a group of very talented actors, which easily showed on stage. This is a complex story that deals with a range of emotions, from comedic lines to the sadness of Matilda’s neglectful parents to anger towards the evil headmistress Ms. Trunchbull, played by French teacher Cindy Stockstill, all the actors on stage used their faces and body language to make the audience feel those same emotions. The acting was this production's strongest aspect, along with the incredible stage presence that all the actors had. 

Overall, “Matilda: The Musical” was an amazing showcase of the cast's talent and the hard work of all the members shines through on stage. With actors from both the middle and upper school, every member of the cast brought this funny, energetic and thrilling musical to the stage through all their time and dedication.


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Andy Poll

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