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‘Matilda’ musical cast set for opening at Community Theatre


The cast is set for Las Cruces Community Theatre’s (LCCT) 2023 production of “Matilda the Musical,” based on the novel by Roald Dahl and directed for LCCT by Michael Wise.

Mia Berkson will play the title character. Mia has appeared in LCCT productions “The Crucible,” “Mary Poppins,” “Annie” and “A Christmas Story,” and in Las Cruces School of Dance and Music’s 2022 production of “The Nutcracker.” She is a student at Las Cruces School of Dance and Music.

“We are very proud of Mia,” said LCSMD co-owner Marc A. Moffett. “She has danced with us for a number of years and is currently Level IV ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop (all advanced levels). This year she was cast in ‘The Nutcracker’ in the big dances (‘Waltz of the Flowers’ and ‘Waltz of the Snowflakes’ as well as in Parry Scene). Last spring, she performed as a soloist in ‘Cinderella’ as the Winter Faerie.”

“Mia is so super talented and I’m so excited for her to get cast as Matilda,” said LCCT Board President Janet Beatty-Payne. “She totally deserves it and will rock the role!”

“We saw a huge number of talented and energetic kids come to auditions,” said Wise. “We had 6-year-olds all the way up to 16! The music director (Lisa Hermanson), the choreographer (Luis Castro) and I were thrilled at the turnout. It's going to be exciting to be working with these amazing kids on this project. It is a strong ensemble (adults and kids), and this show requires one,” Wise said.

The cast also includes Melis Derya White, Bianca Castro, Mike Cruz, Francesca Perez-Wright, Caroline Stapleton, Julian Castrol, Mackynzie Barrios, Jamin Bever, Luis Castrol, Kayla Bradford, Piper Gandy, Milagres Medina, Sapphira Roper, Makena Tellez, Olivia Vasquez, Scott Ludlow, Tanya Camargo, Charlie Bever, Muriel Cain, Braden Gonzales, Astrid Johnson, Kaitlyn Nelson and Zeke Wyatt.

“’Matilda’ is the story of an extraordinary little girl with extraordinary powers,” LCCT said on its website. “The daughter of abusive parents, Matilda finds refuge in library books, which she reads quickly and in creating her own stories. Things are no better at school, where Matilda also must face a tyrannical and cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who believes in Crunchem Hall’s motto: “Bambinatum est Magitum,” or “Children are Maggots.” She finds companionship in her teacher, Miss Honey, though well-intentioned, is shy and fragile. Brave little Matilda knows she has to stand up against the adults in her world, and in doing so, discovers her own remarkable powers. Matilda’s bravery teaches Miss Honey and her classmates an important lesson -- that even though life can be hard, “’nobody but me is gonna change my story’” so “’sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.’”

Dahl (1916-90), a British novelist and screenwriter, wrote “Matilda” in 1988. The musical, staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and written by Dennis Kelly, playwright, and Tim Minchin, composer and lyricist, premiered in London in 2011. That production continues at Cambridge Theatre. “Matilda” ran on Broadway 2013-17, and won Tony awards for book, featured actor and scenic design of a musical.

Dahl also wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and Giant Peach.”

“Matilda” performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 10-11, 17-18, 2023, and 24-25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, 19 and 26, at LCCT, 313 N. Main St. downtown.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $14 for seniors, students and military and $10 for children.

Visit www.lcctnm.org.