Reagan Mitchell and Kyra Wood pose side by side during rehearsal for “Matilda.” Both girls, along with Rachel Wood, will portray the title character in Theater at Latitude 58’s upcoming production of the play. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Reagan Mitchell and Kyra Wood pose side by side during rehearsal for “Matilda.” Both girls, along with Rachel Wood, will portray the title character in Theater at Latitude 58’s upcoming production of the play. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Pilot production of ‘Matilda’ readies for takeoff

Theatre at Latitude 58 to put on Roald Dahl-inspired musical

Heather Mitchell and Karen Allen knew “Matilda” would be perfect for Theater at Latitude 58’s teen and tween actors.

But there was a sizable obstacle: The musical wasn’t yet available for amateur productions.

Mitchell, a board member and producer for Theater at Latitude 58, and Allen, the show’s director, wrote the rights holder a letter asking to pilot a production of the show, and to her surprise, permission was granted to put on a production of “Matilda.”

“We were really lucky to have an opportunity to stage this,” Mitchell said. “The fact the rights holder is letting us do this is kind of a big deal.”

In the letter, they stated Juneau is geographically far removed from many of the professional productions, highlighted the city’s vibrant arts community and emphasized how well-suited the show is to actors that may be too old for child roles and too young for adult roles.

“Not only is this such a great show for a large group of kids in the tween and teen ages, it’s an opportunity for them to do some real challenging on stage work,” Mitchell said.

The approval comes at a good time.

October marks the 30th anniversary of the book, “Matilda,” which was Roald Dahl’s final novel.

“He’s not around to see the musical, but I think he would have appreciated what they did with it,” Mitchell said.

The book was also adapted to a popular kids movie in 1996, but Mitchell said the musical more closely matches the essence of the novel.

“I’ve seen the film and read parts of the book and gone and seen the musical,” Mitchell said. “The stage musical, I think, in some respects is a little more true to the style of Roald Dahl. Don’t ask me to define it. It’s a little more British. A little drier.”

Plus, it’s a good time for performers and the audience, Allen and Mitchell said.

Silly jokes, thick British accents and kinetic musical numbers were packed into a recent rehearsal.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Allen said.

Good things come in threes

“Matilda” offers plum roles for young actors, but performers of all ages will be involved in Theater at Latitude 58’s production.

“We’ve got a cast of over 40 people,” Mitchell said. “They range in age. We have 8 year olds. Our oldest cast member is, well, once we get to a certain number, we stop counting. Let’s say close to retirement age.”

The nature of the show also created multiple lead opportunities.

“The role of Matilda is a lot to take on for girls of this age,” Mitchell said. “We don’t just have one Matilda. We have three of them.” Rachel Wood, Kyra Wood and Reagan Mitchell will take turns portraying the protagonist.

Allen said when the girls cast as Matilda isn’t playing the title role, they will fill in other spots in the cast, too.

“Matilda” opens Friday, Nov. 16 and through Sunday, Nov. 18. There will be 7 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets go on sale in mid-October. They will cost $20 for adults and $10 for children and be available online and through the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council.

Know & Go

What: Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda”

Where: Thunder Mountain High School auditorium

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18.

Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors

Matilda, portrayed by Kyra Wood, reads while ignoring arguing Wormwoods portrayed by Aaron Schetcky and Heather Mitchell. Theater at Latitude 58 is preparing for a a November production of the musical “Matilda.” (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Matilda, portrayed by Kyra Wood, reads while ignoring arguing Wormwoods portrayed by Aaron Schetcky and Heather Mitchell. Theater at Latitude 58 is preparing for a a November production of the musical “Matilda.” (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Reagan Mitchell (far right), portraying Matilda stifles laughter in the stern presence of Jared Vance’s Miss Trunchbull, while classmates (from left to right) Dannan Mills, Dori Germain, Adina Alper and Kaia Mangaccat look on during a rehearsal of “Matilda,” a musical production to be put on by Theater at Latitude 58. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Reagan Mitchell (far right), portraying Matilda stifles laughter in the stern presence of Jared Vance’s Miss Trunchbull, while classmates (from left to right) Dannan Mills, Dori Germain, Adina Alper and Kaia Mangaccat look on during a rehearsal of “Matilda,” a musical production to be put on by Theater at Latitude 58. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

President Biden at the White House on July 3. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Joe Biden drops out of race, scrambling the campaign for the White House

Withdraws under pressure from fellow Democrats; endorses Vice President Kamala Harris to take on Trump.

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter hovers over Sitka Sound during routine hoist training. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Lt. Cmdr Wryan Webb)
Yakutat-bound charter flight missing from Juneau

Flight departed from Juneau on Saturday with three people aboard, according to U.S. Coast Guard.

Neil Steininger, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the House Finance Committee at the Alaska State Capitol in January of 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neil Steininger, former budget director for Gov. Dunleavy, seeking District 1 Juneau Assembly seat

Downtown resident unopposed so far for open seat; deadline to file for local races is Monday.

Buttons on display at a campaign event Monday, July 8, 2024, in Juneau, urge supporters to vote against Ballot Measure 2, the repeal of Alaska’s current election system. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Ranked-choice repeal measure awaits signature count after Alaska judge’s ruling

Signatures must be recounted after judge disqualifies almost 3,000 names, citing state law violations.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska demographers predict population drop, a switch from prior forecasts

For decades, state officials have forecast major population rises, but those haven’t come to pass.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

Cars arrive at Juneau International Airport on Thursday, July 11, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau seems to have avoided major disruptions following global technology-related outage

911 centers, hospitals, airport, and public safety and emergency management agencies are operating.

People take photos of local dignitaries during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Teal Street Center on Thursday afternoon. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Teal Street Center celebrates with ribbon-cutting a year after social agencies begin providing services

Nine organizations providing legal, disability, counseling and other help open under one roof.

Most Read