“Matilda the Musical,” a Tony award-winning musical adapted from the book by Roald Dahl, is being brought to the stage at Kutztown Area High School.

Matilda is a young girl who must face the challenges of a family and school that opposes what she knows to be right and fair. The production celebrates childhood rebellion and imagination.

Director Andrea Hart, who is new to Kutztown, says of “Matilda”, “I chose this play because of its powerful message. Matilda reminds us that we all have the power to change our stories.”

“Matilda” is a great family-friendly show.

Kaylen Leiby elaborates, “This show has a positive message that encourages people to take charge of their own stories and stand up for what is right. ‘Matilda’ has something to offer for everyone. There are moments of comedy with Miss Trunchbull and other heartfelt scenes between Miss Honey and Matilda.”

Leiby is the student director this year and is a seasoned member of Kutztown’s theater program. She has participated in one way or another, on stage or in the pit, since 5th grade.

Matilda Wormwood is played by 5th grader Makenna Dietrich, a new face on Kutztown’s stage. Makenna consistently brings a lot of energy to the stage, as does the rest of the cast.

The show features 50 actors and actresses from all grades, a change from the previously middle and high school cast.

Headmistress Agatha Trunchbull is played by senior Connor O’Neil who says, “I have never worked with more mature and professional young people.”

The actors and actresses have been hard at work since mid-August rehearsing lines and music. There are many others working behind the scenes including the stage crew, parent volunteers, pit orchestra, and many more. Everyone has put a lot of time and energy into making the show come to life.

“Shortly after I selected this play, I realized that it was one of the most challenging pieces out there. The music is difficult, the dance numbers are intense, and the characters are complex. It's not an easy piece for an educational theater to tackle. That's why I'm so impressed with my cast of young actors — they've met all the demands of this play with composure and grace. The story is incredible, and they tell it beautifully. I can't wait for audiences to experience it,” Hart said.

Morgan Claypoole adds, “The musical program is made up of such a wonderful group of people who come together and work so hard. Because [we’ve] worked together for so long, [we’ve] become like one big family… I love it.”

Claypoole, a senior at Kutztown this year, portrays Miss Honey, Matilda’s kind-hearted teacher. She is a veteran to the stage and has been performing with Kutztown since 8th grade.

The cast has experienced many changes this year, with a new director and so many new and young faces. Having ideas from returning participants and fresh new ones has added a different perspective that has enhanced the show.

Leiby said, “Being part of the production team has been a wonderful experience! I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone and watching this musical come together… Our musical family has worked extremely hard the past couple of months and [we] can’t wait to share Matilda’s story with you!”

Performances will be in the Kutztown High School auditorium on Nov. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. as well as Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at kasd.tix.com or at the door before performances.

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