Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

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Meet the Revolting Children of “Matilda”

Interviews with the cast of “Matilda”
Olivia Straus

“12345678 12345678 123…” Senior Courtney Brown stands backstage, shaking each of her limbs to calm her nerves. Upstairs, in the dressing room, junior Raz Koriot pulls on a curly blonde wig, ties on an inflatable baby bump and immerses herself in the character of Mrs. Wormwood. Meanwhile, senior Chase Weyerman prepares to operate the lightboard and control every single light on stage. All around them are students finishing their makeup and running last minute checks, every one of them ready to perform this show one last time.

Leander Theatre’s production of “Matilda” ran from January 25 to 28, with five performances for the public, as well as a performance for LISD middle school students on January 24. 

Many of the actors knew which character they wanted to play from the moment it was announced that this year’s musical would be “Matilda.”

“I’ve loved the play ever since I was little, so I felt like it was my duty to try out for Matilda,” senior Taylor Marshall said. “It just felt like a full circle moment for me.”

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Senior Courtney Brown worked all last summer to prepare for her audition.

“Miss Honey was the only character I wanted to get,” Brown said. “I’m an alto and Miss Honey is a mezzo soprano and she can have a very belty voice. So it was really hard to get into that over the summer. I was really excited when I got the part. I started texting everybody like, ‘Oh my god.’”

But rather than simply posting a cast list, the actors learned who they were playing from a video message from Headmistress Agatha Trunchbull herself.

“They released this weird clickbait video where it was like ‘It seems like these revolting children are putting on a disgusting, horrible, nasty…’ and it just kept going with the adjectives,” Brown said, “and then finally it was like, ‘Oh, well anyways, here’s the cast list.’”

For senior Hunter Crozier, seeing the cast list was an emotional experience.

“I think I cried,” Crozier said. “I was fairly certain I did well in the audition. And we were told there was going to be a callback, so I was expecting the callback list to come out. And then like, I open up this video and I see my name next to Trunchbull. I was in disbelief because this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, and it just felt like an assurance that I was on the right track.”

But not every cast member was a part of the theater program.

“I’m not [in theater], but some of my peers were just like, ‘come join, it’s really awesome,’” junior Jayson Rodriguez said. “So I was like, I’ll give it a try. And originally I was trying out just to see who I would get. I didn’t really think that I would be a good fit for anyone in the play so I was just expecting to be in the ensemble but I realized that me and Bruce relate a lot. So it felt really amazing when I got the part.”

When it came time to perform before an audience, Marshall said that every performance was different.

“For opening night you’re always nervous.” Marshall said. “You’ve never performed this show in front of an audience before, and you don’t really know what’s going to happen, but either way you’re excited. And then that excitement plays into the rest of the performance, so that performance is just adrenaline-filled. And then for the rest of the performances, you’re kind of like okay, I’ve done this before. But for the last performance you’re always just like, this is my last time doing this. So I’m gonna make it great.”

For Koriot, the best part of being in the musical was the people she worked with.

“They were the reason that I wanted to go out there and show up to rehearsals, and we all supported each other.” Koriot said. “The seniors were all so amazing and they inspired me throughout everything.”

Crozier agreed that saying goodbye to everyone he’s met will be difficult.

“So every year before the final show, all the seniors talk about their experience with the musical,” Crozier said. “And every year it’s hard, because we’re saying goodbye to the seniors. And now I’m a senior and I had to talk to the three generations that are now below me and I realized why it was so hard for the seniors every year. It’s because we’re saying goodbye to those three generations. And I just connected with so many people and it’s this wonderful feeling to be able to kind of inspire these people.”

Like many other cast members, “Matilda” isn’t the end of Marshall’s theater career.

“I’m planning to go to Texas State to study acting and try out for the musical theater program.” Marshall said. “I’ve loved acting since I was little and my whole life I’ve been changing my mind on what I wanted to do, but now I know.”

Similarly, Rodriguez knows that he’ll be a part of the musical again next year.

“I love them so much.” Rodriguez said. “It was such an incredible experience and I would not trade that for anything else.” 

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About the Contributors
Payal Mugunda
Payal Mugunda, Co-editor in chief
Payal is a senior and a third-year reporter. In addition to being a co-editor of The Roar, she is also a member of the school choir. She enjoys writing about interesting events and discoveries at school as well from around the world. She hopes to attend UT after graduation and major in physics. Her hobbies include reading anything and everything and baking.
Olivia Straus
Olivia Straus, Creative director