(Part two of a multi-part series following the production of "Matilda The Musical from beginning to end. Read part one here.)
By Jill Harry
With a little bit of a dream and a lot of bravery, more than 20 potential starlets showed off their singing and storytelling skills in hopes of getting a big part in the Barrow-Civic Theatre’s production of the hit Broadway show “Matilda the Musical.”
“We want their best,” music director Mary Beth Hutchinson said prior to the first day of auditions.
She and director Jill Lander came equipped with a “survival kit” of candy as they prepared to be entertained as they searched for their little star. And they did so with open minds about who they might find.
“It’s better for the cast if the director comes in as a blank slate,” said show producer Tom Greene, who sat in on the first day of auditions Saturday.
From there the vision starts to take shape from the first hello from the first auditionee. “You start to see the possibilities,” Hutchinson said of the audition process.
Editor's note: The producers of Matilda The Musical at the Barrow-Civic Theatre posted on social media after this story ran in Today's Titusville Herald. So we updated this post to reflect they have, indeed, found their Matilda.
Lander, Hutchinson and Greene had an opportunity to see lots of possibilities – 21 to be exact. The girls who showed up ranged in age from 8 to 12, had different personalities and singing styles, unique monologues, and hailed from several different towns.
The one thing they all had in common was the bravery to try to be “Naughty” or “Quiet” just as the bookworm Matilda is in the story by Roald Dahl.
From the sounds of the lobby, many of the girls mastered the quiet side of things.
During Saturday’s and Monday’s auditions, the theatre’s entrance was characterized by the hushed whispers of nervous girls and perhaps even more nervous parents. Something a little different from the “high-energy” numbers in the musical that tells the story of one little girl’s magical journey to find happiness.
“Next time (we) will have a tumbling routine and dancing. It will be sheer madness,” Lander said of the round of auditions for the rest of the cast in June.
But for the part of Matilda, it was mostly quiet concentration leading up to the chance to answer three questions. “Why do you want to be Matilda? What song are you going to sing for us today? Do you have a story to tell us?”
Lander, whose welcome personality helped ease many of the girls into the audition process, noted they could often see each girl relax as they concluded their individual stories at the end of each audition.
“It’s the relief of I did it and I didn’t fall apart,” Hutchinson said. “It’s also a feeling of accomplishment.”
It’s a sigh of relief the directors can share now that the show moved one giant step further along the process.
“I knew we’d find somebody,” Lander said.
Following Monday’s auditions, the directing team was able to make their selection, which was announced Wednesday. (see sidebar in this article.)
“The two-year wait is over and it’s time to work,” she said.
(This is the second part of a series of stories about the production of “Matilda the Musical” at the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin.) See part one here: http://8and322.weebly.com/news-from-you/becoming-matilda