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'Matilda' takes the stage
Matilda - doctor sings.jpg
Noah Mart sings “Newborn” as he plays the doctor in “Matilda the Musical” opening today at Park Theater. Also pictured, from left, are Shelby Knight, Karigan Smith, Kaylee Nuckols, Charles Langford and Kalia Stewart.

Matilda Wormwood has odd parents. They scold her for reading books and encourage her to watch TV.

It might sound like every child’s dream on the surface, if only Matilda’s parents cared about her.

“Her parents punish her for being smart,” said Mary Margaret Stanley, who plays Matilda’s mom Zinnia Wormwood. “They certainly have different parental values.”

That storyline takes center stage this weekend at Park Theater as Dream Reality Group has four shows of “Matilda the Musical” set for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Every couple of years we try to take it up a notch and improve on what we do professionally and ‘Matilda’ is another stepping stone for us,” said director Logan Taylor. “The underlying message is no matter how small you feel and no matter how many obstacles are in your way, you can still make the best of your situation and accomplish great things.”

Matilda didn’t have a great start in life, even before she was born. Her mother didn’t realize she was pregnant, even at nine months, asking the doctor if she was just fat.

Her father wanted a boy and still refers to Matilda as one at age 5. He can’t understand why she likes to read.

“Get off to bed you little bookworm,” says Harry Wormwood played by Donoven Vargas. Harry is always up to some underhanded scheme to make a dollar and declares, “I’m going to make us rich.”

It’s the first leading role for 10-year-old Uma Stefanick, who embodies the upbeat nature of Matilda in dance and song. Uma is in nearly every scene and had a nice, round answer when asked how many lines she had to memorize.

“A million,” she said.

Uma has earned the respect of Dream Reality Group veteran Elijah Hernandez, who has played a number of classic roles, including the Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

“Uma absolutely knocks it out of the park. She’s 10 and she’s phenomenal,” said Hernandez. “She works hard at it. If she’s off stage, she’s looking over her lines.”

Hernandez plays four different characters in “Matilda,” including the cook.

“I love being the cook because I don’t say anything and I’m only on stage for about a minute,” said Elijah. “I just have to be gross.”

Matilda encounters a variety of characters when she starts school. There’s Miss Trunchbull, the evil principal, who says school would be so much more enjoyable if children weren’t there.

Matilda does make friends and she develops a special relationship with teacher Miss Honey. Matilda also discovers she has the power to move objects with her mind.

Showings for “Matilda” are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from the Park Theater website.

“Ticket sales are strong and this show is for one weekend only,” said Taylor.