The swings, the gymnastics, the dancing, the music, the Matildas and Mrs. Wormwood.
That’s what audience members will talk about the day after they see “Matilda: The Musical” — according to some of the 200 young actors taking the stage.
Wenatchee School District’s biennial All-District Musical, which includes elementary, middle school and high school students, opens next week for an eight-performance run over 10 days.
The shows are at 7 p.m. Nov. 14-16, 21-23 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 and 23 at the Wenatchee High School Auditorium. The evening performance on Nov. 22 will include American Sign Language interpretation.
Paul Atwood is directing the production, with help from music director Tami Lopushinsky and producers Beth Nierman and Michelle Rosvold.
The play is a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story about Matilda Wormwood — a smart girl with a vivid imagination, awful parents and a mean head mistress — who changes her own destiny and helps others do the same by standing up for what’s right.
“Mrs. Wormwood will stay in people’s heads,” predicts eighth-grader Cate Shearer, who is cast as a newt (one of the big kids) in the show. “She’s very powerful, passionate about what she’s saying.”
Wenatchee High School juniors Dane Schmidt, who plays Mr. Wormwood, and Jason Wahlquist, who is cast as a dad and a Russian, depending on the scene, said they expect performances by either of the two Matildas — Celia Kiesz and Kate Berry — to be memorable as well.
“They’re really good,” Wahlquist said.
WHS freshman Laura Mickey — a judge and a bookworm — said she expects play-goers also will be impressed by how the show brings together so many pieces, aside from the music and dancing.
“It’s such a big production with so many kids. We’re all included together. It’s just so cool,” she said.
Actors have been balancing school work and rehearsals since mid-September, following a week of auditions.
“I haven’t quite memorized all my lines yet,” said sixth-grader Kade Devereaux, who plays Nigel and one of the maggots (little kids). “But I will in the next two days.”
He just wrapped up playing Pugsley in Music Theatre of Wenatchee’s “The Addams Family,” so has been trying not to mix up the two.
Shearer is still getting the dance steps down, while sixth-grader Kenzie Murphy, a maggot, is trying to keep the blocking straight, remembering which scenes are which.
All mentioned the swings, that magically appear, and dancing as some of the funnest parts of the production.
Even moreso, though, is the opportunity to work together with their friends.
“I love the people in it and being a part of it,” said seventh-grader Xander Williams, who plays a Russian and Mini Trunchbull. “It’s very nice to be here.”
“I get to hang out with these dudes,” he said, with a nod to fellow WHS students Schmidt and Owen Clare, a sophomore, who were sitting together during their dinner break. “It’s our little get-together. Every fall and spring. It’s our main reason to hang out with one another after school.”
Seventh-grader Maya Scanlon, a newt, said she enjoys the dancing, but enjoys the people in the dances even better.
It’s that aspect that made her want to audition in the first place, she said.
“I know a lot of people who do all the shows around here, so knowing I will get to reconnect with people in every show I do makes me want to do all of them,” she said.