'Matilda' comes to Broadway

Kidsday reporters Halle Dixon, Alex Smith, Ethan Aube,

Kidsday reporters Halle Dixon, Alex Smith, Ethan Aube, Katie St George met with Lesli Margherita and Gabriel Ebert who star as Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood in "Matilda the Musical" on Broadway. They met them at Guy Fieri's restaurant in Manhattan (April 13, 2013) (Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly)

We really recommend seeing "Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical" at the Shubert Theatre. It's humorous and touching at the same time. It has great lyrics and amazing music, with unique melody lines. "Matilda" tells the story of an extraordinary girl, Matilda Wormwood. She is extremely intelligent, and loves to read. It is later revealed that she has telekinesis. Matilda is unwanted and abused by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, who despise reading. Because of this, Matilda spends most of her time in the library telling stories to the librarian.

When Matilda starts school, she meets the sweet Miss Honey, and the cruel Olympic medalist principal, Miss Trunchbull. With the help of Miss Honey and her friends, Matilda manages to drive out Miss Trunchbull. The plot of "Matilda" differs slightly from the book; however, it is still an enjoyable musical.

There are 16 songs and dances. The actors were so talented. They had a real command of their lines and their dancing.


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The meanest (and often hilarious) characters were Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood (Gabriel Ebert and Lesli Margherita), and Miss Trunchbill (Bertie Carvel). The nicest characters were Miss Honey (Lauren Ward), Mrs. Phelps (Karen Aldridge) and Matilda. Matilda is played by four different actresses (Bailey Ryon, Milly Shapiro, Sophia Gennusa and Oona Laurence). At our performance Saturday, we saw Milly. She was just amazing.

We liked Mr. Wormwood because of his obsession with his hair. There are many great scenes, one of them being the "School Song," in which the pupils inform the new students of the horrid Miss Trunchbull, declaring, "Just you wait for Phys Ed!" We found the choreography in this number impeccable, and the use of letter blocks a great addition.

Another cool scene was when the cast performed the song "When I Grow Up." We especially loved it when the actors swung on the swings. They actually were swinging right over the audience.

The scene when Mr. Wormwood and his son, Michael, sang "Telly," a song about television, was nice, too. It was cool because it shows how much Mr. Wormwood hates books and loves TV. It is a good song with a bumpy beat.

One of the best things in the play is Matilda's playing pranks on her dad. One of the pranks was when Matilda glued his hat on his head.

We also immensely enjoyed the final bows, the most creative curtain call we've seen yet. The cast members ride out on scooters.

All in all, "Matilda" was an amazing musical, making it a must-see for families everywhere.

Rating: 4 of 5

After seeing the show, we met and talked to Gabriel Ebert and Lesli Margherita about their wonderful performance in the show:

How did you feel when you were cast in the show?

Lesli: I was so happy. I waited a long time to hear. Every day you're kind of like, 'Am I going to get it?,' and I was really happy. I ran around my house and called my mom and dad. I was really happy.

Gabriel: I was thrilled because I don't normally play parts like this. I never played a dad before, let alone a sort of a really mean one. I was equal parts thrilled, excited and nervous. And I am asking, 'Am I actually capable of doing this?' But yeah, it was the most exciting job I've ever gotten to do for sure. Amazing.

Do you relate to your character in any way? Lesli: I think just the clothes. I like the clothes, but I'm not that mean. Sometimes it's really hard to be really, really mean to the Matildas because they're so cute. But I like the clothes a lot.

Gabriel: My particular character is, like, I would never hang out with that guy. He sort of embodies the things that I dislike the most, which is stupidity and cruelty. I enjoy playing him, but I don't think I'd enjoy knowing him. I actually don't share much in common with him at all. But that's kind of great.

Gabriel, in one scene, your hair turns from brown to green. How did you do it so quickly?

Gabriel: There's a trick involved in getting my hair green and a magician never reveals his tricks. I do wear a series of wigs in the show and this is my actually natural hair and the wig people backstage are incredible and helpful and they make sure that I always look like a completely different man with several different stylings.

Lesli: It did get greener, though, this week.

What do you enjoy most about performing?

Gabriel: I like my suit. I think I have a pretty amazing suit and hair. My shoes are really incredible. So in a way, just dressing up for the show, by the time I'm ready to go, I feel like Batman. I'm in my suit and I could go fight crime.

Lesli: I really like that, too. I really like sparkles and I have a lot of sparkles on my costume. I think the costumes are really great and the wig is really fun, my big blond wig. So that's the most fun. And hearing people laugh is great.

Gabriel: [At the opening of the second act], I get to talk to the audience, which is really fun, in my little intermission. I like that because it's different every night and I get to be surprised by whoever I choose in the audience, or by however people are feeling that particular night.

Did you ever feel like a play or musical was too tough for you to be in? Gabriel: I felt like that for about half of this rehearsal process, but then I got over it. I think part of, at least my process of acting, involves figuring out my parts in the play and part of that involves feeling like I'm not able to do it for a small bit of time. But actually through that, I get to come to a much more comfortable place, I think, and I've quite enjoyed doing it now, I must say.

Lesli: Yeah, me too. I think everything's hard in the beginning and then you just have to figure out a way to make it less hard and do it anyway.

Gabriel: And trust yourself and the people you're on stage with. And I'm lucky I get to be on stage with her. It makes it alright.

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