Wallingford Community Theater to perform musical ‘Matilda’

 Wallingford Community Theater to perform musical ‘Matilda’

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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.

Twitter: @JenieceRoman