MATILDA THE MUSICAL
Makes Its Atlanta Debut!

By Marci Miller

Matilda the Musical is coming to The Fox Theatre on April 18 – 23. Winner of 70 international awards including 4 Tony Awards ®, Matilda is based on the beloved novel by best-selling author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox). It is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny.

One of the most memorable characters in the show is Matilda’s evil head mistress, Miss Trunchbull. And to say Miss Trunchbull is “no lady” is not a stretch as the role has historically been played by a man. For the current tour actor Dan Chameroy has taken on that challenge. This native of Canada loves this gender bender role and happily transforms nightly from jovial actor to “mean” Miss Trunchbull. We spoke to Dan to find out more about his part and the show.

When you auditioned for the role of Miss Trunchbull, what were you thinking knowing you would have to play a woman every night?

It’s funny, Agatha Trunchbull is definitely a woman, although I don’t think of her as a woman. You just have to approach the character as being a person and how she is represented in the show will give the audience the impression of what she is. The language to me is so key in any kind of play and her language is so British and so wonderful to speak. So I love to get on stage and just spew out her venom every night.

How long does it take to get ready for your role each night?

I’ve been doing it for about 11 months now so it’s become pretty routine. It’s around a good 20 minutes for everything; you get the make up on, you get your wig on, you get your costume, but I stay in character for the whole show, I find it easier that way. So once the stuff starts to get applied, Miss Trunchbull sticks around until I wash it off at the end of the day.

How much fun does the cast have each night?

We’re having a great time onstage and off, seeing America and going to different cities, enjoying the sites. It’s a really great way to see the country.

Tell us about the actress who plays Matilda.

We have three young ladies that rotate throughout the eight show week. They do about two to three shows each. And all three of them are fantastic and bring a little bit their own spin on it. They are very different individually but they all bring great charm, charisma, skill to the show. It’s an impressive thing to watch children that age carry a show and they never leave the stage. I think they are off stage for a total of eight minutes. It’s a big role and it’s a huge responsibility which all three of them do with great ease. It’s remarkable.

And there are actually a lot of kids in the show. What is the atmosphere like having so many children in the cast?

It keeps everything fresh. They are really well-behaved and professional and they are being taken care of very well. Their parents are on the road with them, backstage they have tutors and people who are watching them so they are not running wild on sugar. And they are great, professional young talents, so it keeps things energized back stage, and organized. It’s not some crazy free for all back there, it’s very professional. We’re having a good time.

What a re some of the big stand out musical numbers that audiences can look forward to?

There is a beautiful number for me, I love a song called “When I Grow Up.” It has a beautiful melody and has a childhood innocence that I just adore. In term of the music in the show, Tim Minchin who wrote the lyrics and the music is a comic genius. He’s also a great wordsmith so he’s written some intelligent, witty lyrics for us to sing. And that is always a pleasure when you are an actor. When the word is so full, for you to play it is a great joy.

And why else will audiences love Matilda?

Matilda is the hero of the play. She’s a young lady who is surrounded by mayhem because of the adults in her life. Her parents are not good people. She has a head mistress that is a holy terror who has no redeeming qualities. But this young lady finds a way to manage her life around these people and instructs and teaches all of those around her that this is not correct. So I think it’s an amazing thing to watch because adults will say, “I wish I was as smart as that little girl.” And kids will say “Just because I’m a kid doesn’t mean I am not mature enough to work my way through this.”

I just love it because it’s something that everyone can relate to and it’s done really well on every level. The choreography, the direction, the lighting, the costumes, the characters, the way it honors the book itself, the music. It’s a solid piece of theatre. Matilda has everything going for it, which I love.

Matilda the Musical will run APRIL 18–23 at The Fox Theatre. For more information visit foxtheatre.org.

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