Civic Theatre Presents: ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’
The Tarkington // Apr. 29–May 14
Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, the Tony Award-winning “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” is the captivating masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company that revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, “Matilda” has won 47 international awards and continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages around the world.
Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. She is unloved by her cruel parents—Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood—but impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. Over the course of her first term at school, Matilda and Miss Honey have a profound effect on each other’s lives as Miss Honey begins not only to recognize but also appreciate Matilda’s extraordinary personality. Matilda’s school life isn’t completely smooth sailing, however—the school’s mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who don’t abide by her rules. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts and could be the school pupils’ saving grace!
Note: The May 8 performance at 2 p.m. is designated as an inclusive performance, designed to create a welcoming experience that is intended for patrons who have social, cognitive or physical challenges that create sensory sensitivities. In addition, an ASL interpreter will be available as well as audio description services being provided. Large-print programs are also available for the visually impaired, upon request. For tickets, visit thecenterpresents.org. For more information on the Civic Theatre, visit civictheatre.org.
Meet the Cast
Suzanne Fleenor – Director
Fleenor is no stranger to the arts community or to the Civic Theatre. Fleenor was a member of the Junior Civic when it was located at the original 19th and Alabama St. location and has acted and directed numerous productions over the years and directed YAP productions when it was first founded. Fleenor was poised to direct “Matilda” back in 2020 and was three weeks into rehearsal when COVID-19 hit.
“It’s an honor and a thrill to be back,” Fleenor shared. “We cast the show two years ago, and of course, we’ve had to recast many roles. Thank goodness some of the major roles stayed with us. I’m so grateful to them, and then, of course, our national treasure Anne Beck, the choreographer. She is an extraordinary and gifted artist as well as a wonderful collaborator.”
Mikayla Koharchik – Mrs. Wormwood
The narcistic mother of Matilda is played by veteran actress Mikayla Koharchik, who is herself an extraordinary mother in real life. Koharchik shared what it’s been like developing her character.
“I’m playing Mrs. Wormwood, who is probably the worst mother in the history of mothers,” Koharchik said. “The line that embodies her is, ‘Looks are more important than books.’ It is humorous, in my opinion, as someone who was an English major and is a teacher who believes in the power of books to play the antithesis of myself. It makes this role an absolute blast. It’s hilarious, and I hope that I don’t have anything in common with [Wormwood] as a mother.”
Evan Wallace – Miss Agatha Trunchbull
Looking back at our years in school, we can all think of that one teacher who lifted us up and the one teacher who wanted to grind us down. Evan Wallace shared what one of his reference points was—one particular teacher from his youth who didn’t appreciate his vibe, nor did he appreciate hers.
“I’m playing Miss Agatha Trunchbull, and I’m having the time of my life. I was definitely that kid in class that was on a first name basis with the principal. My reference point for Trunchbull is one teacher in particular that I had, and she and I definitely had the ‘Matilda vs. Trunchbull’ relationship. Trunchbull is just ‘done’ being kind because it hasn’t gotten her anywhere. The character is a hoot and a half to play!”
Julia Bonnett – Miss Honey
Playing the opposite of Miss Trunchbull is Julia Bonnett. Bonnett shared her insight on the relationship between Matilda and Miss Honey and how both characters find strength from one another in the course of the musical.
“Miss Honey is the opposite of Miss Trunchbull in that she teaches with kindness, patience and love—which is one of her lines,” Bonnett shared. “Miss Honey had a very traumatic childhood, and she relates far more to the children and is more comfortable with them than she is with adults. I think [Miss Honey] sees herself in Matilda. She also sees Matilda’s bravery, intelligence and her feistiness, and I think these are things that she wishes she could have been. It’s her mission throughout this show to lift Matilda up and to support her. In the process, she learns more about herself and grows more as a human and grows stronger because of it.”
Alexis Vahrenkamp – Matilda Wormwood
Originally cast as Matilda two years ago, Vahrenkamp shared that she learned more about how to be in the moment and is better prepared for the role now because of the pandemic. She expressed her gratitude to her fellow cast members for their ongoing support and guidance. She is also very excited to portray Matilda for her audiences.
“Matilda is so intelligent and has so much charisma,” Vahrenkamp said. “But she doesn’t know how the world works. Everyone in her life is bringing her down except that spark that is Miss Honey. Matilda gets these stories in head, and that connection becomes so strong within her. It’s just so powerful, and she never knew that she could channel that power within herself and bring it out into the world.”
Be sure to join us in supporting the rich traditions and professional artistry that Civic Theatre has provided to audiences for more than a century and get your tickets for one or all of the performances of “Matilda”!