Middle Schoolers Charm the House With “Matilda”

The opening night standing ovation for “Matilda” was music to the ears of the 24 far-from-“revolting children” in the cast and crew who have been working since January on the production.

The middle school musical, which debuted in the Claudia Boettcher Theatre on Thursday, March 10, was a true labor of love. The seventh and eighth graders who participated were “bursting at the seams to share their work with everyone,” said Director Jason Reiff. “Their commitment has been phenomenal.”

Through a darkly entertaining, humorous script and energetic song and dance, Reiff hoped the message from the Roald Dahl tale-turned-award-winning musical would resonate with the Masters community. “From the support Matilda receives from her teacher, she is able to stand up to the injustice which surrounds her, inspiring her classmates to do the same,” he said.
 
The theatrical dream team of Musical Director Katie Meadows, Puppetry Designer Bruce Robbins and Production Designer Mary Chappell worked with Reiff to bring his vision to life.
 
Alongside four student stage managers, Chappell designed and built the set and props and created the costumes for the show. “I always build a scale model of the set, so that I can show the director where I am going with the design, as well as the student stage managers who are with me for the rehearsal period,” she explained.
 
It was a great experience for first-time stage manager Sam Barek ’27, who had never been involved in a theatrical production before. “I loved this job because of the others that did it with me,” he said. “Everyone brought different solutions, skills and knowledge to the table.”
 
Their teamwork was put to the test with a project that involved building a dollhouse. “It took us from the first day of the job until a few weeks ago to be fully completed,” Barek said. “It took so long because it needed 3D-printed parts and lights on the inside.” 
 
In addition to painting, construction and lighting, stage managing also involved making sure all things went smoothly backstage and on stage during the show. The job is “a lot of work, and the students stay quite busy all winter,” Chappell shared.
 
Emmy Tarter ’27, who played Matilda’s best friend, Lavender, and the acrobat who is Miss Honey’s mother, gave a shout-out to “our amazing directors, Ms. Meadows and Mr. Reiff,” and the collaborative spirit that elevated the production. “Between the amazing choreography, vocals, tech and our hard work, it really came together to make an incredible show.”