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Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, DC, November 15, 2019

Rebecca Connor

South County High School


What happens when you mix ungrateful parents, a cruel headmistress, and a terrifying school? Why, a sweet and clever little girl, of course! Woodrow Wilson High School had it all and created a show of triumph and revenge that you won't want to miss.


As generational conflicts emerge in our world, Matilda's story about a young girl overcoming obstinate adults and her obstacles, with the help of a little bit of magic, becomes especially relevant. Based on Roald Dahl's book by the same name, Matilda the Musical was adapted for the stage by book writer Dennis Kelly and lyricist Tim Minchin and premiered in the West End on November 24, 2011. The story follows the title character as her hope for education clashes with her parents and her school's principal, Miss Trunchbull. Still, Matilda manages to find the best in her situation with the help of the endearing Miss Honey, who aides Matilda in her effort to save the school and herself.


Matilda (Maya Eng Garcia) showed beautiful sincerity throughout the production, making every facial expression both powerful and subtle at the same time. Her childlike innocence in the beginning was well-performed, and she displayed her strong range of vocals in numbers such as "Quiet", transitioning smoothly from belting to soft vocals. In stark contrast with Matilda was Miss Agatha Trunchbull (James Steinman), who consistently displayed disdain for the children throughout the show with his vocals matching the strength of his character, particularly in "The Smell of Rebellion".


Miss Honey (Izzy Weimer) brought a unique depth to her character, portraying her role with equal parts sweetness and self-pity, making her struggle to find her strength crystal clear. Her voice stood out every time she sang, hitting high notes and soft sounds in a way that perfectly encapsulated her character. Not to be forgotten were Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood (Woodfen McLean and Lily Perez), whose brashness was perfectly displayed in sassy intonations and bold movements. Their chemistry was hilarious, even when they didn't get along on stage.


The student ensemble was incredibly well coordinated for such a large group, their movements crisp and clean throughout the show, and every member was consistently doing something in the background to keep the show looking natural. Rudolpho (Hiram Valladares) stood out, his sassy and bold movements making the audience laugh without him even saying a word. The Acrobat (Sophia Kennedy) and The Escapologist (John Joire) had remarkable chemistry, telling a beautiful subplot with hardly a word, illustrating the story with complex movements in "Acrobat Story 3".


The tech elements of Matilda were truly astounding, with an incredible amount of moving set pieces, each that perfectly captured the scene it was meant to represent, along with phenomenal designs by the set team (Clea Tang, Miranda Rothberg, Sam Van Order, and Ruby Mason), often transitioning quickly between fun, colorful sets to the dark halls of Matilda's school. The lighting (Sam Marks, Annette Leber, and the Wilson Lighting Team) was consistently symbolic, and every time the stage lit up green, Miss Trunchbull's influence was purposefully felt, as well as a fun, multicolored setting for the number "Loud". Each character has a costume (London Gracey, Koli Bennett-Bose, Izzy Rosenberg, and Sophie Bruch) that complimented every personality, with Miss Honey in a light pink dress and the Wormwood family colored garish green and purple from head to toe. These elements brought together a fantastic show by Woodrow Wilson High School, one that was a surefire success.

Shaylen Estrella

South County High School


"The Smell of Rebellion" filled the auditorium of Woodrow Wilson High School as the cast of Matilda heartily told the mighty story of the "Revolting Children."


Matilda, based upon the book of the same title by Roald Dahl, won several Tony Awards, including one for Best Book of a Musical in 2013. The plot follows Matilda Wormwood, an imaginative and phenomenal young girl whose passion for reading is suppressed by her thick-witted family and the spine-chilling Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress of Matilda's school. The stage musical features all of the same characters from the book we've come to learn and love: Matilda, Miss Honey, and of course, Agatha Trunchbull.


Woodrow Wilson High School's production of Matilda was nothing short of exceptional. The student ensemble commanded the stage, illustrating the same youthful spirit the students of Roald Dahl's original story possessed. Their high energy performance, combined with the talent of Maya Eng Garcia (Matilda), captivated the audience and brought them into the world of the "Revolting Children."


Maya Eng Garcia brought the small, but mighty Matilda to life, especially in the song "Quiet," as she showcased her wide vocal range and strong control. Garcia's performance was jaw-dropping as she took on an incredibly believable child-like wonder with the role. As for the antagonist, Miss Trunchbull, James Steinman successfully filled the shoes of the evil, child-hating headmistress. Steinman established his artistry the moment he came into view, as he commanded and demanded the attention of the audience. Steinman's chilling acting skills combined with his powerful vocals made for a perfect representation of Trunchbull's character.


Caught in the middle of the strife between Matilda and Trunchbull were Miss Honey and the students; Izzy Weimer and the student ensemble. Weimer's ethereal vocals and soothing portrayal of Honey worked beautifully in opposition with Steinman's portrayal of the tyrannical Trunchbull. The student ensemble, with sharp movements, high energy, and remarkable dedication to their roles, told the story of Matilda strikingly. The mood of the show was especially heightened by the dancers, including the incredible Emma Younger and Sophia Kennedy. Their technique seemed effortless as they danced across the stage in numbers like "Loud."


The set, comprised of many moving pieces, embodied the numerous settings in an aesthetically pleasing way. Giant ABC blocks and children's books artistically captured Roald Dahl's writing of the studious Matilda. However, the other side of the seemingly innocent set depicted the intimidating features of Trunchbull, especially with the impressive "chokeys," equipped with giant spikes and nails. Another notable technical element of Matilda was the sound. Although there were microphone problems, the energy remained high, with creative sound cues such as echoes and burps. The story was told excellently, and through these elements, Woodrow Wilson High School successfully portrayed a colorful, youthful frame of mind.


Woodrow Wilson High School's production of Matilda depicted a truly colorful extravaganza of the "Revolting Children" of Roald Dahl's original story. The cast, performing beautifully as "Revolting Children" or spine-chilling headmistresses, made Matilda a musical to remember.


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