Matilda (Emmy Smith) and Miss Honey (Monica Poston) in a scene from Los Alamos Light Opera’s ‘Matilda, the Musical’. Final performances ae Friday and Saturday at Duane Smith Auditorium. Tickets are available at Matilda Tickets at Eventbrite, Village Arts at 216 DP Road, or at the door. Photo by Zachary K. Baker
BY HOLLY HAAS
Dixon Community Players
MATILDA is a stunning production from the Los Alamos Light Opera. I have been involved in a couple of the LALO productions, and I’m always impressed by the amount of work and commitment that the cast, crew and musicians put into a production. My husband and I had seen the Broadway show about 7 years ago and weren’t that impressed with it, so we were a little hesitant about coming up from Dixon to see it. We were blown away from the very beginning! The stage held around 40 children and adults in the presence of Matilda’s mom (Holly Robinson), about ready to give birth and clearly not wanting this child, and the attending doctor (Matthew DeSmith) who treats us to a solo with the most beautiful baritone voice.
Shortly after, we are taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood where we meet Matilda (Emmy Smith) for the first time. Emmy is around 101/2 years old and handles the part like a pro. She has a great singing voice, and a wonderful stage presence. Holly Robinson and Scot Johnson (Mr. Wormwood) are wonderful as her uneducated, uncaring parents. Her mom is only interested in ballroom dancing with her extremely nimble dance partner Rudolf (Jonathan Guise). Her dad is only interested in a big money-making scheme with the Russians and refuses to admit Matilda is a girl continually calling her ”boy”.
At age 5 Matilda can read five books a week and befriends the librarian, Mrs. Phelps (Mitzi Pair Willard), who she tells her fantasy tales to. She’s not only extremely smart, she possesses supernatural powers. And that is the story based on Roald Dahl’s book.
The real fun starts when Matilda gets to school.
At school she first meets a host of talented, not-very-smart children, and her teacher Miss Honey (Monica Poston), who becomes her supporter and mentor. Monica plays a sweet, naive woman who has the perfect singing voice for that role. And next she meets her tormentor Miss Agatha Trunchbull brilliantly played by Suzy Kroesche (I have never seen anyone continuously sing while jumping rope).
Many kudos go to Wendy Caldwell Lanchier, the director and choreographer of this amazing, magical production, to Gretchen Amstutz the wonderful music director of the fabulous orchestra, and to Patrick MacDonald, the backstage wizard acting as stage manager and prop master.
My only regret is that LALO didn’t provide a second matinee! Don’t miss this fabulous. magical production.