Review Roundup: MATILDA THE MUSICAL at The MUNY; What Do The Critics Think?
MATILDA the Musical is now open at The MUNY! Beth Malone stars as Agatha Trunchbull and is joined by Mattea Conforti (Matilda), Laura Michelle Kelly (Miss Honey), Ann Harada (Mrs. Wormwood), Josh Grisetti (Mr. Wormwood) and Darlesia Cearcy (Mrs. Phelps). The ensemble completing this cast will feature Maya Bowles, Colby Dezelick, Sean Ewing, Ryan Fitzgerald, Berklea Going, Trevor Michael Schmidt, Gabi Stapula and Sharrod Williams, as well as The Muny Kid and Teen youth ensemble.
As previously announced, Roald Dahl's Matilda is directed by John Tartaglia and choreographed by Beth Crandall with music direction by Michael Horsley. The production team leading Roald Dahl's Matilda includes scenic design by Paige Hathaway, costume design by Leon Dobkowski, lighting design by Rob Denton, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Nathan W. Scheuer, wig design by Kelley Jordan and puppet design by Eric Wright: Puppet Kitchen International, Inc.. Production stage manager is Larry Smiglewski. Casting is by Telsey + Company.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Mark Bretz, Ladue News: There are numerous wonderful performances, led by the dazzling Mattea Conforti as Matilda, who displays remarkable poise and presence as the gifted child, and by Laura Michelle Kelly as kindly Miss Honey. The latter's beautiful voice uplifts tunes such as This Little Girl and My House. Expert comic performances are delivered by Beth Malone as the stomping, sneering Miss Trunchbull, and by Josh Grisetti and Ann Harada as Matilda's annoyed and self-absorbed parents. Darlesia Cearcy is delightfully spellbound by Matilda's stories as librarian Mrs. Phelps, while Colby Dezelick and Gabi Stapula enchant in the story sequences as the escapologist and acrobat, respectively.
Tanya Seale, BroadwayWorld: Notably good numbers in this production include the entire company in an interactive and lively rendition of "School Song," Conforti in the delightful earworm, "Naughty," Grisetti who brings big giggles in "Telly," and the entire company including the Muny Kid and Teen youth ensemble in an empowering finale, "Revolting Children." It is almost impossible to tell that The Muny works on such a short timeline to produce a show of this magnitude. Beth Crandall's choreography is fresh and fun, utilizing and filling the huge Muny stage with exciting action. And while there were some microphone issues on opening night, hopefully those minor glitches have been resolved.
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Director John Tartaglia conjures a carnivalesque atmosphere that fulfills Dahl's vision while also reflecting the design influence of St. Louis-based graphic artist and illustrator Mary Engelbreit. With scenic design by Paige Hathaway and costume design by Leon Dobkowski, the show has a whimsical look - but with just a hint of darkness. The cast is terrific. Conforti, who has played Matilda on Broadway, comes through with an engagingly nuanced performance that deftly avoids cutesiness. Malone conveys Trunchbull's villainy with unapologetic panache. And Kelly is outstanding as the soulfully fragile Miss Honey.
Kevin Brackett, ReviewsSTL: Paige Hathaway's scenic design is delightful, inspired by Engelbreit's extraordinary creations. It's so fun seeing the artist's trademark style shine through the colorful backdrops, video walls (designed by Nathan W. Scheuer), and sets. And the fantastic costumes by Leon Dobkowski pair perfectly with this lively world. The choreography by Beth Crandall dazzles when performed by the Muny Kids and Teens. Aside from several fun numbers taking place at school throughout the show, there is a showstopping song at the end of the show with all the kids that's sure to put a smile on your face.