Montrose’s Matilda: A Bloody Good Time


Adam Richins

Clare Olohan ’28 as Matilda (center) and ensemble.

As the A&A lights dim and the curtain begins to rise, no audience member knows what the next two and a half hours will bring. This being the first full musical Montrose has put on mask-free since Big the Musical, a production that got shut down in the dawn of Covid in March 2020, many had forgotten the magic of live theater, myself included. Seeing your friends come together to put on a show is something truly awe inspiring and something that we all had to go without until this year. Little did we know that Montrose theater would come back with a hit like Matilda. 

Matilda tells the story of Matilda Wormwood, a little girl who possesses abilities like no other child her age. Despite being told she isn’t wanted by her parents and being targeted by her evil headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, Matilda never loses sight of doing the right thing and fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. As Matilda comes into her own by developing her powers and helping those around her, she learns a lesson of self worth, that she is a miracle despite what her parents or Miss Trunchbull tell her. If you ask me, this story is a great example of the message Montrose promotes: that any girl can do anything if she puts her mind to it. 

Even having prior knowledge of the story of Matilda, I don’t think anybody was ready for what the Montrose players had in store for us. As the first number, Miracle began, the stage was already beaming with energy, dedication, and passion for theater. From an audience perspective, you could really tell that every actress on stage wanted to be there and loved what they were doing. Audience member Abbie Lindblad ‘24 said: “I definitely expected a show that seemed like it was put on by kids. But I was met with a show that was genuinely one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.” Maddie Phinney ‘24, who skillfully worked the light board, said: “It was surprising to see how many new people showed up. I always love doing tech for Montrose shows because it gives you the opportunity to meet new people who you might not get the opportunity to meet otherwise.” With a standout performance by Clare Olohan ‘28, who played the title role, believe me when I say that nobody could fathom that she was this talented and only in the 6th grade. When asked about her first Montrose production, she said: “The musical was an awesome experience and the cast was very supportive during the rehearsals and performances. Mrs. Juge, Mrs. Rios, and Mrs. Arena pushed us all to be our very best and it paid off! I cannot wait until the next show!Similarly, Raine Niebuhr ‘24 who gave a fantastic performance as Mr. Wormwood said: “This was one of my favorite shows I have done at Montrose. Not only did I slay my own solo, but I bonded with so many new people who I had never interacted with before. I’ve made so many new friends over the last few months, along with amazing memories with amazing people I’ll never forget.” This was clearly a cast who loved each other as much as they loved what they were doing. There was not one cast member who didn’t give it their all up on that stage. 

With this in mind, we have to owe the welcoming and inclusive environment of Montrose theater this year to first-time director Mrs. Juge, the musical director Mrs. Rios, and choreographer Mrs. Arena. When asked about her experience directing Matilda, Mrs. Juge stated: “Although this was my first directing experience, it was made easy by the incredible talent we have in the theater department here at Montrose. Not only are our cast members theatrically gifted, but more importantly they are flexible, cheerful, and dedicated. They were all so open to whatever craziness Mrs. Rios, Mrs. Arena, and I threw their way! I am very blessed to have worked with all of them!” Her words truly tell us how proud she is of the cast, whom she skillfully directed despite this being her first time directing a musical. 

As we close the curtain on Montrose theater this year, we can only look forward to what Mrs. Juge, Mrs. Rios, and Mrs. Arena have in store for the Montrose community next year. Matilda is sure to go down in Montrose history as one of the best shows we have ever put on. And for that, we have the fabulous directors, talented cast, and dedicated tech crew to thank.

by Chloe Stefani ’24, Fashion Editor