The stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book “Matilda” was featured Thursday at Schwab Auditorium to a sold-out crowd. Many audience members remember the book and movie from their childhood — and the fun, lively musical gave them a sense of nostalgia.
The audience was packed with students required to attend for various theater classes, like Sarah Davis and Livia Whitesel. However, many shared an excitement about the show regardless of if it was required for class or not.
“I love theater, I watched the movie [Matilda] a lot as a kid,” Davis (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said.
Whitesel (freshman-broadcast journalism) was not familiar with the musical, but she was also an avid viewer of the movie as a kid. She was impressed with how similar the production’s costumes were to the movie.
FUSE Productions, a State College based performance company, promises — and delivers — Broadway-quality entertainment. The company has performed over 20 mainstage productions in the last five years.
FUSE attracts students and members of the State College community who are theater fans to see affordable shows, like Stephanie Libertucci.
“I really love theater," Libertucci (freshman-advertising/public relations) said. "Back home, I live really close [to] New York, so theater kind of became my baby over the past couple of years.”
With a relatively simple set of blocks with letters and seesaws, Schwab was set with a grade school atmosphere before the show began. The blocks and seesaws later served many purposes, such as acting as chairs or tables.
The opening number, titled “Miracle,” gave a preview of the rest of Tim Minchin’s unique score. The song mixed modern musical theater with pop to curate an energetic start.
Moreover, the score continued its vibrancy with many lyrics that held double meanings. At the beginning of act two, the kids performed “When I Grow Up,” where they imagined everything they would be able to do as adults. But, Miss Honey closed the song by repeating one of the lyrics with a new, deeper meaning brought from her delivery.
“When I grow up, I will be brave enough to fight the creatures that you have to fight beneath the bed each night to be a grown up,” Miss Honey said, referencing her struggles with situations in her life she found challenging.
Though the stars of the show were the children, “Matilda” was packed with life-lessons even adults may learn from. One of these lessons include being kind and standing up for justice.
Matilda’s character outlined creativity, respect, storytelling and the necessity to not take life seriously, even as an adult.
“I taught them with kindness and patience and respect,” Miss Honey said as Miss Trunchbull questioned the student’s strong spelling abilities.
The bigger numbers of the show were primarily dominated by the cast’s children. “When I Grow Up” brought a spin on the typical Broadway blocking with swings, and used seesaws instead. The young actors played and danced while presenting powerful lyrics.
“Revolting Children” also featured the younger cast members again, with the teenagers serving as support to allow the kids to shine.
“Matilda” will run at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sep. 6 and Saturday, Sep. 7 in Schwab Auditorium. A matinee will also be available at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sep. 7. However, FUSE Productions said tickets are now extremely limited for Friday’s performance.