The Milpitas Community Center’s Matilda JR. opened on Thursday, November 2.
A musical about a brilliant young girl with psychokinetic powers who forms a deep bond with her teacher, the Milpitas production of Matilda JR. is delightful, complete with engaging characters, catchy music, and vibrant choreography.
It’s based on British author Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel Matilda; the first musical version of the book was performed for the first time in 1990.
My family and I went to watch the afternoon show on Saturday, November 4. We sat in the front row, right near all the action.
The show opens with the song “Miracle,” instantly pulling the audience into the story. The young cast came onto the stage with such great energy and presence, none of which waned throughout the entire production.
Show-stopping numbers like “When I Grow Up” and “Revolting Children” demonstrated the range, talent, and cohesion of the cast. It was a treat to see such great singing and choreography on the part of all the young performers.
Two different sets of cast members play several of the main characters. We saw a performance by Cast A, which featured Niralya Vivek in the lead role of Matilda. Vivek is a noteworthy talent; she brought great energy to her dynamic depiction of a girl whose parents fail to give her any kind of love, support, or attention.
Pakhi Vyas was also a stand-out in her role as the cruel-hearted and deeply unstable Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda’s school principal. And Julia Daldon was brilliant in her warm portrayal of Miss Honey; she fully and convincingly embodied the role. Laura Daldon (who is Julia’s younger sister) delivered another strong performance as Bruce, making the audience empathize with her character.
Director Michael Sanchez did a dazzling job of directing Matilda JR. His skill and judgment infused the production with tangible energy and vivid human insight. Watching the show, you could feel Sanchez’s love and passion for theater. Choreographer Meghan Horowitz lit each dance number all the way up with an organic and lively touch. And Assistant Director and Vocal Director Rachel Haskin’s influence was tangible across all the great vocals on display.
It was refreshing to see that musical theater is alive and well in Milpitas. Bringing children together to collaborate, perform, and stretch themselves within the safe container of a community space holds immense cultural and social value. We welcome more!
Only two more performances of Matilda JR. are going up:
They are both today at 2pm and 6pm. Grab a ticket here before they sell out.