WALLINGFORD — More than 150 cast members from Wallingford Community Theatre are making final preparations to bring the musical “Matilda” to the stage early next month.
Matilda tells the story of a young girl who loves to read, lives with cruel parents and has special abilities. The story is based on a 1988 book by Roald Dahl, which was made into a Broadway production. The Wallingford Community Theatre production will run from August 1 to 3 at Sheehan High School, with each show starting at 7:30 p.m.
Mary Ellen Kingsland-Eckels, executive director of the theater group, said she chose the musical because it requires a cast diverse in age.
“I like to mix generations,” she said.
Kingsland-Eckels said the wide age range makes the cast feel like a family. There are 150 cast members, ranging in age from 4 to 70. There is also a wide range in experience.
“I’ve got kids who can’t read yet, who have a script because they want to be a part of it,” Kingsland-Eckels said.
Kingsland-Eckels wanted to encourage children to be a part of the “theater family.” Anyone who auditioned became part of the cast regardless of age, experience or ability.
“It’s always people first,” Kingsland-Eckels said. “The show will take care of itself.”
Ten-year-old Natalie Jambor, who plays Matilda, said she was excited when she learned she was cast in the lead role.
“I was very happy. I was almost crying,” Jambor said.
Set Designer David Stein said because the rights to the play were just released, there isn’t a model of how to construct a set for a community theater production. Because Matilda loves books and learning, he wanted it to be abstract, imaginative and colorful. He described the set as “pulling back pages of a book.”
“The story does move fairly quickly, so to be able to move set pieces and move from one scene to the other was a challenge,” Stein said.