Theatre-at-Tusculum presents “Matilda the Musical” for seven entertaining, energetic performances

GREENEVILLE – Beautiful sets and catchy songs will enrapture audiences in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center Theatre at Tusculum University when adult and child actors take the stage in November for seven enchanting performances of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda the Musical.”

Left to right: Isabella Paysinger as Matilda Wormwood, Sandy Nienaber as Mrs. Wormwood, Jeff Ward as Mr. Wormwood and Eli Berney as Michael Wormwood perform a scene for “Matilda the Musical.”

This delightful and whimsical musical follows the adventures of Matilda, an extraordinarily brilliant little girl who astounds everyone, including herself, with her magical abilities. Scorned by her incredibly insensitive family, she tries to correct every injustice she encounters – and handles the task quite well.

“This is a show for the whole family, as it proves right over wrong, provides laughter and, maybe, tears and promotes books over the ‘tele,’” said Marilyn DuBrisk, Tusculum’s artist-in-residence, who directs the show. “Our talented ensemble and expert behind-the-scenes crew will continue our tradition of excellence with a joyful musical that will thoroughly entertain our audiences.”

Performances will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 10 and 17.

The musical is based on the 1988 book “Matilda” by Dahl and the 1996 movie with the same name. “Matilda the Musical,” with book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, premiered on London’s West End in 2011. It came to Broadway in the United States in 2013 and won five Tony Awards that year.

Leading the cast in the title role is Isabella Paysinger, a Tusculum View Elementary student. Theater veterans Faith Rader and Brian Ricker play kind-hearted Miss Jennifer Honey and villainous Miss Agatha Trunchbull, respectively. Other local theater favorites in the production include Jeff Ward and Sandy Nienaber, who play Matilda’s horrible parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, and Greeneville High School student Eli Berney as Matilda’s dimwitted older brother, Michael Wormwood.

Brian Ricker as Miss Trunchbull and Faith Rader as Miss Honey perform a scene in “Matilda the Musical.”

Members of the Tiny Tots group and Matilda pose on the Tusculum University grounds wearing costumes for “Matilda the Musical.”

Supporting actors include Margo Olmsted as the librarian, Mrs. Phelps; Josh Beddingfield as the doctor; and Daniel Shrader as Sergei the Russian.

The production team includes Ricker as cast coordinator, Kasie Shelnutt as musical director and Christa DelSorbo as choreographer, with select choreography by Elizabeth Sparks. Designing the costumes and makeup are Erin Schultz and Trenda Berney, respectively. Frank Mengel leads set design, with artistic design from Garry Renfro and lighting design by Beth Wilson-Schnura. Suzanne Greene and Jim Holt serve as stage managers, Brenda Litchfield curates props and Jennifer Hollowell oversees box office and house management.

Tickets are $15 for anyone older than 12, $12 for those 60 and older and $5 for children 12 and younger and are payable by cash or check. They may be reserved by calling Tusclum Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620 or emailing People can pick up and pay for tickets at the box office the day of the performance or schedule a time to come by the Arts Outreach office.

Theatre-at-Tusculum is part of Tusculum Arts Outreach and is supported in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Hearts for the Arts and many generous donors. More information about Theatre-at-Tusculum or other Arts Outreach programs is available at 423-798-1620, or on Facebook at Tusculum University Arts Outreach.