I’d like to thank my friend Anne Rittenberry for sharing this information on the upcoming summer play at the Signal Mountain Playhouse. If you’ve never been to one of these plays, GO NOW! This remarkable organization, SMPH, was established in 1972 to provide activity for children during the summer, and it has been going strong ever since. The summer play typically runs every weekend during July, and is produced in an outdoor theatre under mature shade trees. Oh, there is also a full orchestra. Take a step back in time this July, be enchanted by a spectacular production that is as professional as they come.
"Playwright Roald Dahl is known for his whimsical take on life and reality, what with his hits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, featured at the Playhouse as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 2017, and James and the Giant Peach. His Matilda the Musical is no exception, delivering fun and fantasy. The Signal Mountain Playhouse is happy to return to Dahl’s body of work with this great story of spunky little girl Matilda, who educates herself at the library and comes out on top of some iffy situations, sometimes calling on her telekinetic powers.
"The show will run at the Playhouse on the corner of Rolling Way and James Boulevard on Fridays and Saturdays in July, on July 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. Curtain is at 8 p.m., and tickets go on sale at 6 p.m. for those who wish to purchase tickets and place their lawn chairs early. The amphitheater is terraced with stones, and lawn chairs are recommended for comfort.) Tickets are a deal at $5 for kids 12 and under and $15 for those 13 years and up - cash or checks only please.
"Starring as Matilda will be Bea Burbank, a remarkably talented newcomer profiled elsewhere in these pages. Playing Matilda’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, are Roger Cass, who brought the part of Albert in last summer’s “Bye Bye Birdie” to dynamic life, and newcomer Valerie Duke. As Matilda’s brother Michael will be Eden Lewis; as Trunchbull, the hammer throwing school headmistress, will be Dani Clark, who played Albert’s overbearing mother in “Birdie” last summer. Miss Honey will be played by Maddie Meier, a longtime Playhouse favorite and recent graduate of Chattanooga State’s Theatre Program; as “young” Miss Honey will be Alayna Stewart. Mrs. Phelps will be played by Janet McInturff, veteran Playhouse actor; playing Rudolpho and the escapologist will be Nathaniel Gee; and playing the Children’s Entertainer will be veteran player Cole McClain. In addition, there are many featured roles, and a kids’ and adults’ ensemble.
"The production team includes professionals Garry Posey as director; Mike Lees as musical director; Lindsay Fussell as choreographer; Nicholas Hartline as playhouse orchestra conductor; and Marcia Smith as accompanist. The Playhouse is thrilled with this marvelous staff.
“Songs from the show include the company’s Miracle, Matilda’s Naughty, Revolting Children, the iconic When I Grow Up, Bruce, Trunchbull’s The Hammer, Miss Honey’s My House, Mrs. Wormwood’s Loud, and many more.
"Concessions will be available, as well as porta-potties. The Playhouse is handicapped-friendly with parking on the grounds for those with the sticker and an especially adapted porta-potty available. Handicapped people should remove the orange cones on Rolling Way, drive in, and then replace the cones.
"For more information about Roald Dahl’s “Matilda the Musical,” go to smph.org; the Signal Mountain Playhouse page on Facebook; call 763-7219; or go to email@example.com.”
By Anne Rittenberry
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Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series. “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.