Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy's Theatre Department presented Matilda JR. on 01/19/24 - 01/21/24 at CHCA's Lindner Theater. This mysterious tale, featuring students in grades 6-8, was directed by Anna Brink and choreographed by Brink, with assistance from Upper School students: Abby Fancett ('24), Lania Skinner, ('24), and Claire Fancett ('26). Also leading was Assistant Director Mara Wright, Vocal Director Adele Enns, Technical Director Jim Jung, and Stage Manager Sarah Grace McCollough.
Adapted from Rohld Dahl's 1988 book titled Matilda, this stage adaptation catapulted audiences into the difficult life of Matilda Wormwood--a little girl who is not cherished by her parents like most children. In fact, they resent and despise her, calling her names and insulting her constantly. Despite her situation, Matilda engages her own intelligence and imagination through books and storytelling. Upon her first day of school, her lovable schoolteacher, Miss Honey, discovers Matilda's brilliance right away and advocates for her to the oppressive headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, for Matilda to be placed in a more challenging class. This request is quickly denied, and Miss Trunchbull begins to explain why all children are "maggots" who need to be broken in order to obey her rules. She even has the Chokey--a scary place for children who need to be punished. Luckily, Miss Trunchbull meets her match in Matilda. Between Matilda's intelligence, strength, and newfound telekinetic powers, and Miss Honey's desire to find her own strength to stand by her side, they come together (with the help of Matilda's classmates) to make things right! Matilda's song "Naughty" declares: "Even if you're little you can do a lot. You mustn't let a little thing like little stop you!" In the end, Matilda is adopted by Miss Honey, and together, they begin a new life of strength, courage, and support.
Matilda Wormwood was played by Hailey Tobin (Gr 6) with the perfect combination of sweet and feisty. It was easy to fall in love with her childlike storytelling, while at the same time, being motivated by her spunk and determination to stand up for what's right. She fully embodied this character and carried the show with ease. Her soft-spoken teacher, Miss Honey, was played by Claire Ballish (Gr 8) who gracefully portrayed the character's evolution from meek to determined and displayed her beautiful voice in the song, "This Little Girl."
Miss Agatha Trunchbull was played by the talented Ahva Bishop (Gr 8), who confidently embraced every aspect of this challenging character, from her passion for rules, nostalgia for Olympic awards, and disgust for children (and newts), to her over-the-top desire to punish them. She maintained a comedic charm while also convincing the audience that yes, she could have committed a horrible crime in the past.
Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood were played by Ethan Ping (Gr 6) and Ellery Godby (Gr 7) with all the selfishness, crookedness, and 1980s flair you could hope for. Their disgust for Matilda was evident and grew with every scene. The kind librarian, Mrs. Phelps, was played by Hannah Hopkins (Gr 7), who's acting was superb as she reacted to Matilda's storytelling. Classmates Amanda Thripp and Bruce Bogtrotter, played by Bridget Krieger (Gr 6) and Kitan Aina (Gr 7) had stunning scenes as well, interacting with Miss Trunchbull in dramatic ways. Both carried their scenes with a wonderful display of character and comedy.
The entire cast was a delight to watch -- from the adorable Lavender (Eliana Edington, Gr 8) and charming Nigel (Noal Kaufman, Gr 6) to the pugnacious Big Kids, to the special guest appearances by three Upper School students (Ray Muenzer '26, Charleigh Wright '24, and Clete Reinberger '24) -- the story was brought to life with an incredibly talented cast. And let's not forget the fantastic crew who seamlessly changed a large number of sets and props with ease. Seven students in Gr 6-8 and 14 students in Gr 9-12 made up the running crew, hair and makeup, lights, and camera crew; and senior Caleigh McFawn displayed her talent in lighting design.
CHCA's Fine Arts Director Mona Summers shared of the show, "Kudos to our cast, crew, directors, and volunteers on a remarkable show. From the outstanding performances, costumes, props, set design, and special effects, the musical engaged and delighted all who attended."
Bravo to the entire cast, crew, and directors!
*This show is one of seven theatrical productions at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy this year. Mark your calendars now to see these remaining productions: Children of Eden (03/15/24 - -03/17/24), Academy Night Live (04/19 24 - 04/20/24) and The One Act (05/07/24).
Photos courtesy of Dan Ledbetter.
CHCA Theatre Department GR 6-8 presents a story of strength and courage in Matilda JR.
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