Jared Vance, center, playing Miss Trunchbull, sings during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Jared Vance, center, playing Miss Trunchbull, sings during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Theater at Latitude 58 brings “Matilda” to Thunder Mountain High School Stage

Show features original choreography and orchestration

Even if you’ve seen the movie and read the book, Theater at Latitude 58’s take on “Matilda” will have surprises.

Their take on “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” opens Friday and includes new wrinkles that haven’t been featured anywhere else.

“Our choreography is all original,” director Karen Allen told the Capital City Weekly during a Thursday rehearsal.

That’s because Theater at Latitude 58’s “Matilda” is a pilot production. The show is not yet widely available to amateur adaptations, but after Allen and Heather Mitchell, a board member and producer for Theater at Latitude 58, sent a letter requesting special permission, work started bringing it to a Juneau stage.

“It’s come a really long way,” Allen said.

Young actors found harmonies and danced their way through “Telly,” an extremely catchy ode to television, while Allen spoke. They were accompanied by a drummer and pianist during rehearsal, but the show will feature a full orchestra when it goes on at Thunder Mountain High School.

During “Telly” one of the show’s foibles is readily apparent — the entire cast adopts English accents for “Matilda.”

“There really wasn’t a choice,” Allen said. “The story is inherently British. The idiom isn’t American.”

Allen said the words used and the sensibilities imbued in Dahl’s comic world made it an easy choice to make even if meant less-than-easy work.

To add another layer of difficulty, the accents aren’t one size fits all. Different characters sport accents tied to specific regions.

Most of the cast uses a Central London manner of speaking, but the Wormwoods, Aaron Schetcky and Heathy Mitchell, boast thick Cockney accents and the authoritarian Miss Trunchbull, Jared Vance, has a North Country lilt.

During rehearsals, even Allen’s instructions were delivered in character.

“It’s been a challenge for them,” Allen said. “We’ve just been going with full immersion.”

Actors said they’ve enjoyed the process.

“I always like accents,” said Karen Adkison, who plays Lavendar.

Abigail Zahasky, who plays Miss Honey, said she likes them a lot more that they’ve been practiced.

“I love it know that I can kind of do it,” Zahasky said.

They all also expressed fondness for the musical’s family-friendly comedy, and idealism.

“It has such a beautiful message,” Zahasky said.

Allen said Theater at Latitude 58 is not at all political, but it’s hard not to see the musical’s championing of individuality through the prism of current events.

“It’s got a message that resonates right now,” Allen said. “Everyone has the resources to stand up and fight back in their own way.”

Know & Go

What: Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical”

Where: Thunder Mountain High School, 3101 Dimond Park Loop

When: Friday, Nov. 17, Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for children, students and seniors. They are on sale online through the JAHC’s box office, at the door and at Hearthside books.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Abigail Zahasky, playing teacher Miss Honey, sings during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Abigail Zahasky, playing teacher Miss Honey, sings during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Aaron Schetky, right, playing Mr. Wormwood, threatens Rachel Wood, playing Matilda, during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Aaron Schetky, right, playing Mr. Wormwood, threatens Rachel Wood, playing Matilda, during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Rachel Wood, playing Matilda, sings during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

Rachel Wood, playing Matilda, sings during rehearsal of Theater at Latitude 58’s production of “Matilda” at St. Ann’s Parish Hall on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (Michael Penn | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

Alaska House, seeking to boost oil and gas business, approves carbon storage bill

Story votes yes, Hannan votes no as governor-backed HB 50 sent to the state Senate for further work.

An illustration depicts a planned 12-acre education campus located on 42 acres in Juneau owned by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, which was announced during the opening of its annual tribal assembly Wednesday. (Image courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Tribal education campus, cultural immersion park unveiled as 89th annual Tlingit and Haida Assembly opens

State of the Tribe address emphasizes expanding geographical, cultural and economic “footprint.”

An aerial view of downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Task force to study additional short-term rental regulations favored by Juneau Assembly members

Operator registration requirement that took effect last year has 79% compliance rate, report states.

Cheer teams for Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé perform a joint routine between quarters of a Feb. 24 game between the girls’ basketball teams of both schools. It was possibly the final such local matchup, with all high school students scheduled to be consolidated into JDHS starting during the next school year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
State OKs school district’s consolidation plan; closed schools cannot reopen for at least seven years

Plans from color-coded moving boxes to adjusting bus routes well underway, district officials say.

In an undated image provided by Ken Hill/National Park Service, Alaska, the headwaters of the Ambler River in the Noatak National Preserve of Alaska, near where a proposed access road would end. The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a mining company to build a 211-mile industrial road through fragile Alaskan wilderness, handing a victory to environmentalists in an election year when the president wants to underscore his credentials as a climate leader and conservationist. (Ken Hill/National Park Service, Alaska via The New York Times)
Biden’s Interior Department said to reject industrial road through Alaskan wilderness

The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a mining company… Continue reading

Snow falls on the Alaska Capitol and the statue of William Henry Seward on Monday, April 1. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s carbon storage bill, once a revenue measure, is now seen as boon for oil and coal

Last year, when Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed legislation last year to allow… Continue reading

People staying at the city’s cold weather emergency shelter during its final night of operation board a bus bound for the Glory Hall and other locations in town early Tuesday morning. In the background are tour buses that a company says were broken into and damaged during the winter by people staying at the shelter, and one of the first cruise ships of the season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s homeless head outdoors with no official place to camp as warming shelter closes for season

“Everybody’s frantic. They’re probably all going to be sleeping on the streets by the stores again.”

Juneau’s Recycling Center and Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 5600 Tonsgard Court. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Recycleworks stops accepting dropoffs temporarily due to equipment failure

Manager of city facility hopes operations can resume by early next week

The Anchorage band Big Chimney Barn Dance performs in the main ballroom of Centennial Hall on Sunday night near the end of the 49th Annual Alaska Folk Festival. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
49th annual Alaska Folk Festival ends with promise of an ‘epic’ 50th

Weeklong event remains free after nearly a half-century “which is unheard of,” board president says.

Most Read