Why We Love Newtildas (And You Should Too!)

Everyone’s beloved little bookworm, everyone’s worst nightmare of a principal and everyone’s ideal teacher from Roald Dahl’s literary genius are all brought to life in Matilda the musical.

Quentin Blake’s signature sketches and – most recently – Tony award-winner Matthew Warchus’s directorial genius has turned this spectacular story into an exciting stage performance. The musical features Dennis Kelley’s (another Tony-winner) work and Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics. Ms. Honey, Matilda and Trunchbull are characters that speak volumes about the musical, so much so that they have become easily recognizable. 

Matilda the Musical has enchanted audiences since its premier; what with a commendable cast and unforgettable tunes like the “School Song” and “Bruce” (who can ever forget when poor little Bruce had to indulge in Trunchbull’s personal chocolate cake forcefully?).

The first ever original cast, after a 300-show run went back to middle school, of course. No room for blindsiding education. And rightly so! After this, there have been many sets of talented actresses picked out for the Broadway and West End productions. And this brings us to the exciting subject of this post; the newest Newtildas for the Broadway production have been unveiled!

They are Ava Ulloa, Paige Brady, Ripley Sobo and Gabriella Pizzolo. The bright young actresses have taken up the lead role in this Tony Award winning (seven times, if you’re wondering) stage production, replacing the former leads – Sophia Gennusa, Bailey Ryon, Oona Laurence and Milly Shapiro.

And, needless to say, they have their work cut out for them. The production has over 2,500 words of dialogue, a solo spot in six songs and ninety-five minutes of stage time lined up for these budding talented actresses.

And this doesn’t even begin to cover the effort it must take to deliver during the intense ten-week rehearsal process.

While for Brady, Pizzolo and Ulloa it is their Broadway debut, Sobo has appeared in the Tony Award winning musical Once, where she played the lead’s daughter, an agreeably small role for a talented actress.

As for Paige, landing the part of Matilda was a matter of raw talent and, as is with all great successes, a little bit of luck. She came to New York carrying her simple desire to perform. During her audition she performed a number from Annie and, well, obviously was perfect for the role.

For Gabriella being selected for the role of Matilda and getting the chance to perform in the musical was something she used to refer to as ‘just a fun extracurricular thing.’ Gabriella became driven and determined to audition for Matilda and did make her way through all the stages of audition.

When it comes to Matilda, each one of the young actresses is a rising star. Working around their star-status, Paige is attending a virtual school, Gabriella is being homeschooled by her mother, and Ava and Ripley attend regular schools.

In spite of everything, the young actresses are strictly told not to consider themselves as stars, give all of their interviews together and even alternate between who sings the solos for media appearances.

The most commendable – and perhaps, sometimes a contribution that goes unnoticed is that of the girls’ families. Paige and her mother share a living space near the theater, while Gabriella and her mother rotate between relatives on Staten Island. Their daily trip to the theater includes a ferry, a subway and a car ride. Ripley is no exception and sleeps over at her grandparents’ house on show nights, only to get up and commute back home to attend school the next morning.

All in all, Matilda the musical is a truly classic tale, masterfully directed and acted out by such young talents that have surely stood out among professionals, simply because of their ability to act and perform. All of the performers truly bring Matilda and friends to life in this production.

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Ivy Oscar is a professional writer and blogger from Magnolia, Delaware. She likes to write about music, sports, celebrities and all the good things in life.
Categories: Theater

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