The Warwick Center for the Performing Arts will present “Matilda: The Musical” next weekend at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, with performances on March 25 at 7 p.m. and March 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran Jessica McRoberts, this Tony Award-winning musical brings Roald Dahl’s heroine to life to remind audiences that everyone has the power to change their story.
The story follows Matilda’s journey as she escapes her own grim reality through books and storytelling. Based on Dahl’s classic children’s novel of the same name, with a score by Tim Minchin, Matilda is a family-friendly musical. This is the first full-length musical from WCPA’s nascent musical theater program, and McRoberts explains that Matilda was a natural choice:
“I was drawn to Matilda because it incorporates a variety of ages from kids to adults. It was really a great opportunity to include as much of the community as possible as we kickstart this musical theater program.”
The production features 46 students who range in age from 4 to 18, as well as a number of prominent local professionals. Tim Mullally, co-owner of the popular clothing store Style Counsel in the Village of Warwick, will guest-star as the meanspirited headmistress Agatha Trunchbull. The production is a return to his theater roots for Mullally, who got his start performing at the Lycian Theatre in Sugar Loaf in 2004. Since then, he has starred in an Off-Broadway production of “Celluloid the Musical” at The Tank Theatre NYC as well as regionally with the Forestburgh Playhouse, Orange Hall Theatre, Cornerstone Playhouse, Museum Village Playhouse, and the Paramount Theatre.
Other guest stars include Warwick native Stephanie Thiessen, an up-and-coming actor who has performed with multiple equity and regional houses around the country, local musician and Warwick Valley Middle School music teacher Peter Van De Water, elementary school teacher and drama club producer Taylyn Carter, and Warwick Valley High School junior Emily Buliung as Ms. Honey. The role of Matilda will be played by 12-year-old Jenny Walker, who wowed McRoberts and the rest of the casting team at her audition.
“We conducted the auditions as you would for a Broadway show, and she just came in and delivered it,” McRoberts said. “She was quite the professional. I think the audience is just going to be blown away by this local talent.” The production features original choreography by McRoberts, a former Radio City Rockette whose Broadway credits include “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark,” “Sweet Charity,” “Nine,” “Follies,” “Doctor Doolittle,” and “Sunset Boulevard.” Musical direction was provided by Christy Brown, a member of the award-winning Celtic folk band Emish and a WVMS music teacher, and Richard Schacher, a local musician and teacher. Tickets also include a pre-show featuring the youngest students and directed by Amy Buliung.
Upcoming programming includes an eight-week spring workshop series beginning on March 28, and a summer production of High School Musical on August 12 at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center. Auditions for the summer program, which runs from August 1–12, are slated for June 18.
Matilda tickets are on sale now at warwickperformingarts.com
“I was drawn to Matilda because it incorporates a variety of ages from kids to adults. It was really a great opportunity to include as much of the community as possible as we kickstart this musical theater program.”- Jessica McRoberts