BWW Review: MATILDA at Moorhead High Theatre
Moorhead High School Theatre Presents: Matilda
Matilda is the story of a very exceptional 5 year old girl. The character was originally created by Roald Dahl, the same author who brought us such wonderful books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox and more. Matilda made it's Broadway premier in 2013. Matilda has received widespread critical acclaim and won numerous awards.
Director Rebecca Meyer-Larson made the announcement last fall (earlier than usual) for the 2019 fall musical at Moorhead High so the kids have had almost a year to look forward to this show.
I am not sure how they do it, but it seems like MHS Theatre outdoes themselves every year. This is such an amazing production with so many talented performers even featuring 10 young kids in the cast. The show opens by showing the unexpected birth of Matilda and goes big right from the opening number "Miracle" and you know right away you are in for a treat. "Miracle" features all of the kids, parents, Matilda and the whole ensemble. Its such a fun and upbeat number. In so many shows there are usually a few standouts, but there are so many here including the young kids.
Before I get into the individual standout I want to mention one of my favorite scenes in the entire show. At the beginning of Act II "When I Grow Up" was such a magnificent number featuring six large swings hanging from the catwalk. The kids sitting and standing on the swings while singing is perfectly choreographed.
I also need to mention the huge number in Act II "Revolting Children" this was such a phenomenal part of the show that might deserve it's own standing ovation.
Cassidy Wendt as Matilda is an absolute star. She completely owned the role and made it her own. Cassidy is so believable as the 5 year old Matilda and has such wonderful stage presence. Her interactions with Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Honey are some of favorite parts of the show. Cassidy has such a great voice and really stood out on "Naughty", "Quiet", "When I Grow Up" and of course the Acrobat Stories". She has some very powerful and emotional moments in the show. ** After seeing this show 2 more times, I am not sure if I even realized just how special her performance was. From never having a lead before to absolutely killing it in this performance. Cassidy might have put on one of the best performances I have ever witnessed on a MHS Stage. I truly hope she sticks with Theatre.
Lydia Horan as Mrs. Honey was another perfect casting choice. The scenes with Matilda and Mrs. Honey were so wonderful and the on stage chemistry between the two was so good. Lydia has an amazing voice, and I still fondly remember her performance as Ursula in the Horizon Middle School production of The Little Mermaid just a couple of years ago. We were treated to some wonderful solo performances by Lydia on "Pathetic", "This Little Girl", "When I Grow Up" and "My House". You know you are seeing a special performance when you get teary eyed.
Ethan Crompton as Miss Agatha Trunchbull was definitely the funniest character in the show. I am not sure if anyone else could have pulled this one off. Ethan took this one completely over the top and it worked perfectly. Ethan really stood out on "The Hammer" and "The Smell of Rebellion".
Jordan Kalvoda as Mr. Wormwood is hilarious! I have watched Jordan perform since he was a young child and this is definitely one of his standout performances. Great stage presence and comedic timing. From his first scene when he first meets his daughter to his final scene with her he did a great job. His performance on "All I Know" was another favorite.
Greta Almlie as Mrs. Wormwood is another over the top character that is just fun. She has a great performance on "Loud".
Mya Pfeifer as Mrs. Phelps was an absolutely wonderful character. Although we don't get to hear her sing, her scenes are some of the most important in the show.
Another non-singing character that was a standout is Jonah Hanson as Michael Wormwood. His words are far and few between but when he does talk you will know it. I am guessing the phrase "BACKWARDS" will follow him for years.
Charlies Maki and Anni Yoney as the Escapologist and the Acrobat are two beautiful characters who get to act out Matilda's stories in the background. We get to hear them both sing during the stories. We are treated to an aerial silk performance by Anni and we also get to hear Charlie in a solo during "Miracle" while he portrays The Doctor and also on "My House".
Just a few more that I should mention that had standout performances are Harrison Timm as Rudolpho, Ali Astrup as Bruce and Riley Stallman as Lavender.
Every member of the cast should be very proud. Every one of you did an wonderful job.
A huge shout out to Brian Cole and the entire Pit Orchestra. Choreographers Meleah LaPlante and Colby Schwartzwalter and the rest of the production crew.
Congratulations to the entire cast and crew on another Moorhead High School Theatre smash hit.
Photo Credits: Robby Njos
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