“Matilda, The Musical” a magical, musical play based on a children’s fantasy book about a 5-year-old genius with telekinetic powers, opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at North Lamar High School’s auditorium.

Based more on author Roald Dahl’s book than on the 1996 film version, “Matilda: The Musical” features music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly.

Matilda’s intelligence and her powers allow her to overcome the problems she encounters from her neglectful family and the harsh treatment she receives at the hands of her principal.

“A lot of people have seen this movie,” said Cody Head, North Lamar High School drama instructor and the play’s director, “but movie magic is really different from the special effects one sees on stage. In the movies they can use computers and camera tricks and editing, but stage magic has to be done in real time and in real space, right in front of the audience.”

Head has enlisted the help of several volunteer stage “dads” to help create Matilda’s magical powers.

“It’s taken many man-hours to build the pieces and many more man-hours to rig them and rehearse them to make sure they work correctly,” Head said. “The magic effects in this play require a crew all its own. We don’t want to give any of the surprises away, and they won’t be just like what is seen in the film, but they should be pretty impressive.”

The magic was not the only tricky part to mounting this show, Head said.

“The songs have some strange and unique harmonies, but the audiences will leave the theatre humming them,” he said. “Also, it was tricky to get all these high school kids to remember how to act as 5-year-old, to be free enough to be a little kid on stage.”

The cast includes: Matilda, Amanda Dean; Ms. Trunchbull, Sean Gist; Bruce, Ariah Still; Mr Wormwood, Brian Slater; Mrs. Wormwood, Ella Amis; Michael Wormwood, Dylan Melvin;Rudolpho/Parent, Connor Lanne Dawes; Ms Honey, Reyna Hildreth; Mrs. Phelps, Sophie Carl; Lavender, Sarah Carl; Doctor/Hortensia, Jillian Jones; Escapologist/Sergei/Parent, Joseph Daniel; Acrobat, Ellie Ables; Amanda, Ann Vukcevich; Eric, Richard Kelp Torres; Alice, Ashlyn Leonard; Tommy, Stevy Hoskins; Nigel, Colleen Dawson; Cook/Ensemble, Kirsten Knowles; Stage Manager/Henchman and Carter Renfro. Parents/Ensemble includes: Kaidynse Steed, Hannah Miner, Sierra Brown, Allison Wood, Rachel Wood, Nathan Stone, Mackenna Miller, and Jordan Bell. The Ensemble includes: Maggi Burton, Jacie Coward, Kaitlyn Bridgers, Kendall Stephens, Zoe Hurst, Madelyn Hendrick, Skylar Kammer, Tara Allen, Lucy McDowell, Riley Spencer, Jasey Armstrong, Taylor Pickering, Bailey Scott, Gracie Heying, Melodee Robinson, Hannah Jackson, Camdyn Davis, Avery Scott, Morgan Butler, Chisteny Snead, and Madeline Fuller.

Crew members include Carter Jackson, Claire Jackson, Carter Renfro, Camden Renfro, Evan Saffle, Andrew Wood, Braeden Wilkins, Kaitlyn Miller, Mara Leonard and Avery Gurly.

Additional shows are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Reserved tickets are $20 and general admission is $15. Call 903-737-2003, ext. 1030, or email chead@northlamar.net.

Sally Boswell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6962 or at sally.boswell@theparisnews.com.

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