‘Matilda’ promises fun for kids and adults

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 24, 2019

 Abigail Patterson, left, and Julianna Fergan, right, are double-casted for the role of Matilda in Macomb Civic Theatre’s June production of “Matilda the Musical.”

Abigail Patterson, left, and Julianna Fergan, right, are double-casted for the role of Matilda in Macomb Civic Theatre’s June production of “Matilda the Musical.”

Photo by Kathleen Heberling

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STERLING HEIGHTS — It doesn’t necessarily take telekinetic powers to make school and society a better place, but a strong will and a big imagination help.

That’s the message behind “Matilda the Musical,” and Macomb Civic Theatre actors will use their own imaginations and creativity to present it at Stevenson High School June 6-9.

The all-ages show is based on the Roald Dahl children’s book “Matilda,” about a precocious bookworm with special powers and a strong imagination. The story shows how Matilda affects her school and the adults around her for the better, even if she sometimes pulls pranks and misbehaves.

Director Melanie A. McCaw said part of the reason the troupe chose “Matilda” was that the licensing had just been released last fall, and no one else was doing it. She said the story is one that people of all ages will enjoy, and it contains a positive message.

“We ultimately chose it because it’s a great musical,” she said. “What makes it so attractive is that ... everybody is always trying to do the right thing, and if you see something that isn’t right, you should try to support other people and fix it.”

McCaw said the theatrical production allows characters to break the fourth wall and interact with the audience.

McCaw said the “Matilda” cast encompasses 92 people playing around 112 roles. She added that about 90 percent of the cast members are of high school age or younger.

The audition and casting process was as open and inclusive as possible, and seven actors with special needs were cast as part of Macomb Civic Theatre’s Noah’s Ark program, she said.

McCaw said the show will feature kids and adults — the roles range from age 4 to 54. She said many roles get double casting, such as the lead role of Matilda, who is played by Abigail Patterson and Julianna Fergan.

Fergan, 10, said she has been rehearsing and watching videos online to prepare to portray her character.

“I like how she always is fun, and I like how she reads books a lot and always says, ‘I’m a girl,’ because her dad says she’s a boy. The father wishes that she was a boy.”

Fergan said she started performing in Macomb Civic Theatre productions when she was in second grade, and she liked it so much that she returned to act in other productions.

Macomb Civic Theatre will perform “Matilda the Musical” at 7 p.m. June 6-8 and at 2 p.m. June 9 at Stevenson High School, 39701 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights. Admission costs $10 online and $12 on-site. For more ticket information, visit www.BroadwayInMacomb.org or www.macombcivic.org.

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