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NewArts Cast And Crew Counting Down To ‘Matilda’ Opening; Performances August 2-11 At Masuk High



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MONROE — NewArts will present Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, the Broadway and West End phenomenon, August 2-11 at Masuk High School in Monroe.

Inspired by the skewed genius of Roald Dahl, the Tony Award-winning musical revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination, and the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda has won 47 international awards and continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages around the world. The NewArts production features more than 100 Newtown-area youth onstage, backstage, and in a live orchestra.

This production of Matilda is being directed by NewArts Producing Artistic Director Michael Unger, with choreography by Broadway’s Linda Talcott Lee. Music direction is by Drew Nichols, scenic design is by James Dardenne, lighting design is by Andrew F. Griffin, sound design is by Tye Hunt Fitzgerald, costume design is by Stevie Rival, puppet design is by Danny Dyer, the stage management team includes Allyson Schiller, Emma Ettinger, and David Mercier, production management is by Brian McManimon, technical direction is by Alyse Porsella, and prop design is by Lisa Ashby.

Associate music direction is by Maryrose Kristopik; associate choreography is by Katie Taintor. Michael Baroody, MD, founder of The 12.14 Foundation, is serving as executive producer.

Performances are scheduled for Friday, August 2, at 7 pm; Saturday, August 3, at 2 and 7 pm; Sunday, August 4, at 2 pm; Friday, August 9, at 7 pm; Saturday, August 10, at 2 and 7 pm; and Sunday, August 11, at 2 pm.

The show is double-cast to involve more children in the program. The Newt Cast performs August 2, 4 and 10, and the Chalk Cast performs August 3, 9 and 11.

Tickets are $12-$25, depending on seating location, and are available online at newarts.org and 1214foundation.org.

Masuk High School is at 1014 Monroe Turnpike in Monroe.

Past NewArts productions include last year’s hit Newsies, an annual production of A Christmas Carol featuring a creative team that includes six Tony Award-winners, the world premiere of A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, School of Rock, The Lion King, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The 101 Dalmatians Musical, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Liberty Smith, The Wizard of Oz, and their inaugural production of Seussical: The Musical in 2013.

The young artists who participate in NewArts productions not only work together to create high quality productions while interacting with Broadway-level professionals on a daily basis, but they are also taken on a journey beyond the shows themselves. Interwoven within the rehearsal schedule is a custom-built, character development curriculum designed by volunteers from the Yale School of Management and the University of Pennsylvania Masters of Applied Positive Psychology department.

The challenging character development curriculum equips the cast and technical crew members with essential life skills such as grit, resilience, and post-traumatic growth, which extend well beyond the stage into everyday life to help these young artists flourish as individuals and members of their community.

The NewArts experience is unique from any other performing arts program. Dr Baroody explains: “the participating children will be entertaining the community with a Broadway-quality performance, but more important, throughout the rehearsal process, they are learning how to overcome obstacles, work as a team, and realize the best versions of themselves.”

Whether performing onstage or helping behind the scenes, the NewArts mastery experience, in combination with the 12.14 Foundation’s flagship character development curriculum, ARC (Awareness, Resilience, Confidence), guides students through the pathways of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and self-awareness to improve students’ overall well-being.

Trunchbull (Joseph DeVellis) makes a point to Amanda (Kate Sullivan) in front of the ensemble during a tech rehearsal for the upcoming NewArts production of Matilda the Musical. Performances will run two weekends, August 2-4 and 9-11, at Masuk High School, where 100 Newtown-area children and young adults will be featured. —NewArts photos
Mrs Wormwood (Nicole Kolitsas) and Mr Wormwood (Michael Spanedda) have a great laugh in a scene from NewArts’s Matilda the Musical, opening this weekend.
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