Critic’s Corner: Matilda a Must-See Show


Mattea Vecera, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism


I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of this year’s musical, Matilda. Having participated in NDA’s musical as a cast member for three years prior, I’d never been in the audience and frankly had no idea what to expect. 

Without spoiling too much of the plot, Matilda is about a young genius overcoming obstacles caused by her family and school. The show was filled with twists that kept audience members on the edge of their seats until the final bows. 

The pit began playing and if I wouldn’t have known they were playing live, I honestly would’ve thought it was a recording. Many of their music cues were intricate, and it’s extremely difficult to follow the vocalists and their tempo as they lead. However, each one was spot on with pauses placed perfectly. The countless hours Mr. Johnson and the students spent practicing were definitely evident to the audience. 

This school is fortunate to have such an amazing crew, especially those working on the lights and microphones. Senior Caragan Olles doesn’t get enough credit for the work she does, as she is always making sure the voices blend together and that the volume is balanced throughout the auditorium. The lighting by alumnus Jake Gerlikovski also enhanced the emotions of the show, with special effects and colorful lights appearing during scenes. 

Despite the minimal set pieces and props compared to past shows, there were definitely some standout items. During the second act, two functional swings somehow appear mid-stage and the actors take turns swinging while simultaneously singing. I also am still wondering if Charlie Rickards did, in fact, eat an entire chocolate cake on stage. 

The costumes and few wigs made all of the characters come to life. Elizabeth Hoeppner wore a huge blonde wig that must have been extremely heavy, yet every movement was done with grace. Sonja Gapinski dazzled the audience with a red acrobat costume that I could not take my eyes off of. 

The group numbers sounded amazing and all of the harmonies were perfectly blended and spot on. Very few times could one voice be heard above the others, but each time it was quickly fixed. Every one of the solos could be heard crystal clear from the back of the house (the auditorium). I don’t think there was one weak song or solo. 

Even though I had seen the cast list and knew most of the students’ singing voices, nothing could have prepared me for how flawlessly each character was portrayed. There could not have been a better cast.

The star of the show clearly was Matilda herself, Maddy Burgess. She has what seems like hundreds of lines and countless solos. For such a small body, she has a strong voice. It is almost as if the show was made for her. I’m confident that no one could have played the role better. 

Congratulations to the cast, crew, pit, and directors for a fantastic opening night. A special congratulations to Mrs. Gilson for taking time out of her busy life to put her heart and soul into directing another amazing show. They seem to only get better every year.

Her co-directors–Mrs. Salerno, Mrs. Flinchum and Mr. Johnson–deserve heartfelt salutes as well.

If it is not already clear, Matilda is a must-see, and I highly recommend going to see it this weekend. Tickets can be bought on or in the commons before the show. 

The performances are Friday, January 24 (7:00 p.m.), Saturday, January 25 (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday, January 26 (2:00 p.m.).