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‘Matilda the Musical’ to bring magic, nostalgia to stage

‘Matilda the Musical’ to bring magic, nostalgia to stage

August 8th, 2019 by Madeleine Leroux in Features

Tonight, the curtain will open on the Little Theatre’s latest production — “Matilda the Musical.”

Director Gabrielle Wittenberger said the cast has been working since early June, moving to the Miller Performing Arts Center early this week for final dress rehearsals before the show itself, which is also at the Miller Performing Arts Center.

Three days before opening night, Wittenberger gathers with members of the cast and crew to give notes from the latest run through. Roughly 30 people, ranging in age from 7-50, are listening to tips for using the microphone system at the hall and how to behave backstage before heading off to get dressed for another run through. Wittenberger said they were doing it each night until tonight’s opening, getting all the final details in place.

“Matilda the Musical” is the story of an extraordinary girl who uses her vivid imagination, intelligence and psychokinetic powers to help change her life and those of her fellow pupils. Wittenberger said audiences can expect magic, as well as a lot of fun songs.

“I think it’s a little bit nostalgic for people,” Wittenberger said, noting how people connect to the original book or the 1996 film. “Hopefully, it’ll make adults realize that little kids do have voices that we need to listen to and they do have things to say.”

Wittenberger said she’s known as the one who always does the kid shows, but this is the first show they’ve done where the children are driving the show itself. After all, in the storyline most of the adults are not exactly the good guys. Plus, it’s the opening show for the Little Theatre’s 50th anniversary season, which Wittenberger said makes it even more special.

“The story itself is just really fun,” she said.

Wittenberger said the regulars at the Little Theatre become like a family and it’s always wonderful to welcome new members into the group. And it is a family affair for Wittenberger — her husband builds sets, her oldest daughter choreographed the show and her youngest daughter will help out backstage for a couple of nights. Even Wittenberger’s mother helps out as the costumer.

The show is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, plus a 2 p.m. Saturday performance, all at the Miller Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. The box office is open at the Miller Performing Arts Center from 5-7:30 p.m. on show nights.