Theatre Centre Presents "Matilda"
It’s not easy being a kid. Especially when your parents are crude, TV-addicted, book-bashing scoundrels and your heartless headmistress has a fondness for torturing children. Such is the plight – and plot – of the mischievous and magical “Matilda,” a Tony Award-winning musical which opens the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s 2019-2020 season on Friday, September 20.
Inspired by the twisted genius of children’s author Roald Dahl (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach”), the wonderfully quirky “Matilda” is an exhilarating masterpiece about an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination, a sharp mind, and psychokinetic powers, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. She’s unloved by her cruel parents, but her intelligence and astonishing wit impress her loveable schoolteacher.
Her school life isn’t smooth sailing, however. The mean headmistress hates children and throws them around the playground and confines them to a spike-filled chest called The Chokey. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts, and could be her schoolmates’ saving grace.
Playwright Dennis Kelly and musician-composer Tim Minchin have done a gloriously over-the-top job capturing the wit and heart of Dahl’s tale, which is set in an English village. Packed with high-energy dance numbers, catchy songs, and an empowering message of daring to stand up for what’s right, “Matilda” is a joyous girl-power romp.
Guest director Katherine Michelle Tanner, who directed last season’s musical hit “Newsies,” is also choreographer. As music director, Michael Huseman has songs like “Naughty,” “Loud,” “Pathetic,” and “Revolting Children” to play with.
They lead an energetic cast of 15 children and 11 adults, including two 10-year-olds who share the title role. Libbie Weaver and Anay Philips, double-cast as the precocious Matilda, will appear in alternating performances.
Tripp Ladd and Lee Preston play Matilda’s unloving parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood. Amanda Medlin as a caring teacher and Greer Caldwell as a kind librarian are Matilda’s allies at school. Jason Russell is the sadistic Miss Trunchbull.
The rest of the cast includes Laine Caldwell, Charlie Clevenger, Aria Cochran, Erin Eames, Roxanne Gibson, Cole Hayes, Tytus Hayes, Larry Hubbard, Caleigh Jackson, Keath Jackson Jr., Levi Jones, Aleah Larson, Ken LeBeau, Hayley Lewis, Alex Loyd, Carter McKissick, Caelen Philips, Ripken Russell, and Julie Wright.
Performance dates are September 20-21 at 8 p.m., September 21-22 at 2:30 p.m., September 26 at 7 p.m., September 27-28 at 8 p.m., September 28-29 at 2:30 p.m., October 3 at 7 p.m., October 4-5 at 8 p.m., October 5-6 at 2:30 p.m., October 10 at 7 p.m., October 11-12 at 8 p.m., and October 12-13 at 2:30 p.m.
For tickets ($11 to $30), call the CTC box office at 423-267-8534 or visit TheatreCentre.com.