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Review: MATILDA at the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center

Review: MATILDA at the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center

The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center (CMPAC) does it again with a thrilling showing of Ronald Dahl's Matilda. With a clever original score by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly, this spirited incarnation - superbly directed by Long Island theatre vet Jordan Hue - runs at the adorable Oakdale venue through November 6th. And, based on the audience reaction opening weekend, you may want to get your tickets quickly.

In the Tony winning musical based on Mr. Dahl's classic 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 and a great thing for kids to see on the stage. It is also hilarious and gratifing when she gets revenge on everyone who has been needlessly unkind to her.

Claire Daly and Layla Turnier alternate the titular role. Claire, who I had the pleasure if seeing opening night, is enjoyable, has great stage presence for someone so young, and brings charm and hope when needed as this show is kind of an emotional roller. Also a treat is Veronica Fox and Matthew W. Surico (a CMPAC staple who also serves as Music Director) who make a great team as Matilda's rotten parents. Their comedy is top-notch and you almost forget what terrible parents they are portraying. Also a highlight is Carissa Navarra as Miss Honey, Matilda's beloved teacher. Miss Honey tries to help Matilda in her terrible home situation while coming to terms with her own horrible family member. Their bond is truly endearing.

I really could go on and on about the large, superb cast, but know that everyone is truly talented and absolutely stellar in their respective roles.

On the brilliant creative team, John Mazzarella's set is well done making great use of the large stage. Enhanced by Christopher Creevy's atmospheric lighting and Brianne Boyd's striking sound design, you will be captivated by this production even if it is a little on the dark side. And special kudos to choreographer Kevin Burns for a deliciously creepy zombie vibe from the incredible company. Fitting as we approach Halloween. Indeed, leave it to CMPAC for another visually stunning show.

Folks, the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre does not disappoint. A top quality production, a talented & beautiful cast, and a classic tale make for an exhilarating evening of theatre.


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From This Author - Melissa Giordano

Melissa has been covering theatre for BroadwayWorld for the past eight years and has loved every second of it. She is consistently inspired by the talent of the artists of her beloved Long Island a... (read more about this author)


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