We all want to be seen, heard and appreciated for who we are.
Little 5-year-old Matilda Wormwood is no different. But the titular star of the Tony Award-winning musical “Matilda the Musical,” based on Roald Dahl’s famous 1988 children’s novel of the same name, is unloved, unseen and unwanted by her parents. Mr. Wormwood, her father, a used-car salesperson, even calls her “boy,” because he wanted another son.
Elevate Productions, a division of Colorado Ballet Society, will present the musical Friday through Sunday at Brown Center for the Arts.
“It’s a high-energy show,” said CBS’ artistic director and co-owner Kate Walsh Honea. “What’s great is it follows Matilda through her imaginative land of childhood. It’s a story of perseverance.”
In the musical, which premiered in London in 2011 and on Broadway in 2013, the book-loving Matilda must exist with multiple cruel adults on the daily, including the miserable Miss Trunchbull, who lords over her school and is often played by a man. But Matilda also has an unusual power — telekinesis, the power to move objects or reshape them — which comes in handy. And she’s found one loving human in the form of her teacher, Miss Honey.
“ ‘Matilda the Musical’ … is the most satisfying and subversive musical ever to come out of Britain,” wrote New York Times critic Ben Brantley in 2013. “It’s an exhilarating tale of empowerment, as told from the perspective of the most powerless group of all. I mean little children. … ‘Matilda’ captures the particular dread that runs like an icy rivulet through even the happiest childhoods.”
Honea, a former principal dancer and assistant ballet mistress with the Sarasota Ballet in Florida, is relatively new to the Colorado Springs dance scene. She and former husband Dex Honea took over CBS a year ago, after its founder and director emeritus Patricia Hoffman sold the Briargate and Falcon locations of the company to Matt and Lisa Walsh; they appointed Kate as artistic director and manager of the Ballerina Boutique, and her business partner Dex as executive director and school principal.
Kate first made acquaintance with CBS in 2017, when she performed as a guest artist in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the 2017 and 2018 productions of “The Nutcracker.” The school left a lasting impression on her.
“I was so impressed by how Patricia Hoffman had the whole business of the school and the discipline of the students and the talent pool,” she said. “I was hungry to get my hands on these students, and help them get into professional companies. I felt at home here.”
They arrived at an auspicious time — the 25th anniversary of the organization that now has about 500 registered students ages 21/2 to adult. After spending most of the last year adhering to the schedule planned before they took over, and getting a feel for the business, they’ve begun to introduce some changes, including renaming some of the dance divisions and designing the new anniversary season, which features a fall performance at Ent Center for the Arts and a full-length production of the ballet “Don Quixote” at Pikes Peak Center in the spring.
“Dex and I want to make CBS the premier school of professional dance training in Southern Colorado and beyond,” Kate said. “We also want to expose more of Colorado Springs to the ballet world and expand performance opportunities for students and the community. Eventually, we want to make this more of a ballet conservatory and have a training program that will lead to a ballet company.”
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