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BWW Review: MATILDA at John W. Engeman Theatre

BWW Review: MATILDA at John W. Engeman Theatre

Northport's John W. Engeman Theatre does it again with a thrilling production of Tony award-winner Matilda, the musical. The lavish incarnation, superbly directed by Igor Goldin, runs at the exquisite Long Island venue through December 29th. And, based on the audience reaction opening weekend, you may want to get your tickets quickly.

Based on the classic 1988 Ronald Dahl children's book, we follow five-year-old Matilda. She's precocious, loves to read, and, unfortunately, has a horrible family. However, she knows what she wants and her worth which is beyond amazing. It is also hilarious when she gets revenge on everyone who have been needlessly unkind to her.

Elsa Dees and AnnaBelle Deaner alternate the titular role. Elsa is enjoyable, has great stage presence for someone so young, and brings lots of laughs when needed as this show is kind of an emotional roller. I had the pleasure of previously seeing AnnaBelle in productions of Annie and Once at the Engeman. She is such a firecracker and also a great choice to portray Matilda. It is also a treat seeing Michael Perrie, Jr. back on the Engeman stage as Mr. Wormwood, Matilda's rotten father. He does put a great comedic spin on the role. In all honesty, the entire company is truly top-notch.

On the brilliant creative team, Nate Bertone's set is well done. Enhanced by Jose Santiago's atmospheric lighting and Mara Newbery Greer's entertaining choreography, you will be captivated by this production as you leave the theatre. Leave it to the Engeman for another visually stunning show.

The Engeman will not disappoint and this is indeed a must see for the holiday season. A top quality production, talented & beautiful cast, and a classic tale make for an exhilarating evening of theatre.


Ronald Dahl's Matilda is presented by The John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through December 29th. For More information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit

Book by Dennis Kelly, Music & Lyrics by Tim Minchin, Orchestrations & Additional Music by CHRIS NIGHINGALE, Directed by Igor Goldin (Engeman Theater: Newsies, Gypsy, Oklahoma!, 1776, Memphis, West Side Story, The Producers, Evita, Twelve Angry Men, South Pacific; Off-Broadway: YANK!, With Glee, A Ritual of Faith, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Crossing Swords), Choreography by Mara Newbery Greer (Engeman Theater: Elf; Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, Fulton Theatre, Music Theatre Wichita, Sacramento Music Circus, Pittsburgh CLO, Lexington Theatre Company, North Shore Music Theatre, Gateway Playhouse, Chautaqua Opera, Front Porch Theatricals, 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards), Musical Direction by Alexander Rovang (Engeman Theater: Newsies; Tours & International: Fame, Academy; Regional: Sawdust Palace with Susan Marshall & Co., Only Anne at Goodspeed, Monkey: Journey to the West at the Spoleto Festival), Associate Choreographer is TIGER BROWN, Scenic Design by Nate Bertone, Costumes and Wigs by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design by JOSE SANTIAGO, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Prop Design by OLIVIA WEISS, Casting by WOJCIK/SEAY CASTING, Stage Management by Leila Scandar and KATIE SPINA (Assistant Stage Manager)

Starring AnnaBelle Deaner (Engeman Theater: Once, Annie) and ELSA DEES (National Tour: Les Misérables) alternating as Matilda with Dane Agostinis as Miss Trunchbull, Kate Fahrner as Miss Honey, Sara Gallo as Mrs. Wormwood, Michael Perrie JR. as Mr. Wormwood and Nicole Powell as Miss Phelps with MICHELLE AROTSKY, ZACH BRAVO, TIGER BROWN, Jamie Colburn, ALEX EISENBERG, Alex Herrera, Emily Kelly, A.J. LOCKHART, RACHEL PERLMAN, Melissa Perry, and Richard Westfahl with BRAYDEN BRATTI, Kieran Brown, VIVIENNE COLETTA, DANNY DONAHUE, Amelia Freiberger, JULIA GORDON, Caitlyn Kops, LUCY MANIATIS, CAPRICE MCGUCKIN, Zachary Podair, MADDIE QUIGLEY, FRANK ROCCO RANDAZZO, Ariela Rozentul, Emma Sordi, LILY TAMBURO and Max Tuomey

Photo by Michael DeCristofaro; AnnaBelle Deaner (Matilda) and Michael Perrie Jr. (Mr. Wormwood)

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From This Author Melissa Giordano