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The play, based on the novel by Roald Dahl, will take the form of a musical at the Newberg school

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - The cast of 'Matilda' includes a number of middle schools students.

After the leads of the play were decided last spring, Newberg High School drama students returned to school this fall focused on their next major production. The high school troupe's fall musical will be a performance of "Matilda," which recently finished a stint on Broadway followed by a nationwide tour.

The play is a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1988 novel about an intelligent young girl whose family treats her poorly and doesn't recognize her obvious talents. As the story progresses, Matilda Wormwood's family sends her to a school with a cruel, overbearing headmistress named Miss Trunchbull – who tortures Matilda and her classmates literally and figuratively.

Matilda's journey through the trials of her childhood make for a family-friendly story that sees her overcome many of the obstacles she's faced with. According to NHS theater director Mike McConaughey, it's a story of triumph.

"It follows the book and the movie relatively well," McConaughey said. "The story of Matilda is one that's been told in many ways over the years. She uses her own gumption and belief in herself to overcome everything she is dealing with and it really is a fun story of triumph that a lot of audiences will appreciate and resonate with."

The NHS theater department double casted many of its leads to split over the six nights of shows, so in the role of Matilda will be sophomore Emi Hansen and senior Cris Peterson. Senior Nick Vece will play the role of Miss Trunchbull, which is typically played by a male in this play.

Mrs. Wormwood – Matilda's mother – will be played by sophomore Gretchen Call and junior Lydia Dennis, while Mr. Wormwood will be played by junior Marcus Bower and sophomore Lucas Mabry.

In all, there are roughly 55 students in the cast, 20 or so working behind the scenes and another 15 in the orchestra, McConaughey said. In addition, there are more than a dozen middle school students in the cast as well.

Getting the rights to put on this play was a longer process than usual, McConaughey said, because of the play's nationwide popularity and its success on Broadway. It took two weeks before NHS received permission to go ahead with the play, and the school isn't allowed to advertise anywhere online or in the community beyond a large banner that hangs off the east side of the building.

The Lake Oswego Center for the Arts performed the play in August and Northwest Children's Theatre has shows planned for December. The production company, McConaughey said, wanted NHS to limit advertising in order to make sure people in the Portland metro area attended other shows in the region as well.

"Since it's such a new piece, they're pretty protective of it," McConaughey said. "Musical Theatre International is the company who is licensing it, and they want the shows to be well-done and make sure that they're protecting the interests of those who they already licensed."

The NHS troupe will perform Matilda at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 14-16 at Drea Ferguson Auditorium. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 503-554-5305 or email McConaughey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

School briefs

Crater slates auction

The Parent-Teacher Organization at Antonia Crater Elementary school will soon host a fundraiser. The Crater Autumn Auction, slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Water Oasis on Dopp Road, will provide food and drink to paying attendees, with proceeds from attendance fees and auctioned items going toward various causes at the school. Dinner will be catered by Storrs Smokehouse, wine will be provided by Hyland Estate Winery and beer will be available from local breweries. Cost is $35 per person or $275 for a table. For more information, visit www.craterpto.org.

Holiday bazaar set

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, Ewing Young Elementary School will host its annual holiday bazaar. According to promotional materials provided by the school, the bazaar will include homemade crafts, sweet treats, local vendors, granny's kitchen and much more.

For more information, contact Kari McLaughlin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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