Youth theatre is flourishing in the Canyon and the latest extravaganza to hit the boards is Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the Musical for three performances at the Topanga Community Center (TCC), November 15-16.
Matilda the Musical is a long-running London and Tony Award-winning stage musical based on the 1988 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, which was later made into a movie starring Danny DeVito and Mara Wilson.
Winner of more than 90 international awards, including 23 for Best Musical, Matilda is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.
Currently, the only other theatre to produce Matilda in Southern California is at the La Mirada Theatre in La Mirada.
The Topanga production is the result of the efforts of FOCUSFish, the non-profit that brought the circus to the canyon with their aerial arts pavilion at the Cali Camp/Manzanita campus, which has now expanded to bring community children’s theater to Topanga.
FOCUSFish founder and Matilda director Kristy Beauvais, along with her producing partner, Jill Williams, have been delighting audiences for more than ten years with their musical productions at Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS). The pair has now collaborated to bring musical theater to other schools and communities around Topanga.
As a result, Matilda will feature the talents of more than 35 student-actors, ages 7-13, from six schools, including the Manzanita School, TECS, Topanga Mountain School, Viewpoint, Waldorf, Paul Revere, and many homeschoolers. The show will include aerialists flying over a set that will be moved around by the actors themselves.
“We will be doing the show “in the round” at TCC and will feature the famous Roald Dahl story with singing, dancing, trapeze, and acrobats,” Williams wrote.
FOCUSfish has had aerial programming for all students at Manzanita since the school opened more than five years ago,” Beauvais wrote. “The four featured aerialists were chosen for their experience on the static trapeze, gained as a student of this program at the school. I had to know that they were going to be safe and mature enough to handle this big moment in the show.
“Instead of the swings used in the Broadway version of the song, “When I Grow Up,” we have chosen to replace the swings with trapezes that the children will swing on and perform tricks on. Also, the roles of the Acrobat and Escapologist (performed by Lola and Wolf Momoa) will utilize the trapeze as a symbol of their love.”
The cast rehearses Monday through Wednesday afternoons at Manzanita and in the FOCUSfish pavilion on campus. Williams said that there will be plenty of adults and parents who will also help with sound, lights, sets, and costumes. In fact, Kristy Beauvais’ 16-year-old daughter Gabbi adapted the musical parts for the actors.
“When kids see the parents volunteer on their behalf, it is a good example [of how] to give back to the community,” Williams said.
Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, will play at the Topanga Community House on Friday, November 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, November 16 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The Topanga Community House is located at 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290. For information, contact Jill Williams at email@example.com; for tickets, go to https://matildatcc.brownpapertickets.com.