City Circle’s ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’ presented a beautiful set and a believable cast

On Friday, Dec. 10, City Circle Theatre Company premiered Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical at Coralville Center for the Performing Arts. From gorgeous sets to dedicated actors, the production impressed from beginning to end.


Jake Wicks

The City Circle Theatre Company performed the musical Matilda in a dress rehearsal at the Coralville Center for the Preforming Arts in Coralville, Iowa on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.

Olivia Augustine, Arts Reporter

From an admired children’s book, to a beloved childhood movie, to a show-stopping Broadway production, Matildahas always held a special place in the world of entertainment. This weekend, City Circle Theatre Company reanimated the old favorite with their presentation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.

Produced and directed by Elizabeth Tracey, the show opened to a full house on Dec.10 at Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.

Before the show began, the audience was met with a beautiful set design by Michael Blake. The stage was set with oversized building blocks spelling out “Matilda.” Smaller versions of these props were used by children throughout the show, which was a fun element in dance numbers.

Perhaps the most fascinating detail of the set design was the library. Large aisles of books were rolled out onto the sides of the stage to appear like a real library, but most beautiful, large books hung from the ceiling. I found myself getting especially excited for the library scenes because of how enticing the set was.

Twain Elementary School sixth-grader Sasha Jakob stars as Matilda Wormwood which is, surprisingly, her first-ever theater experience. Jakob acted as a five-year-old character with the poise and professionalism of a seasoned expert.

This being said, Jakob is not the only young one among her castmates. There were several children of all ages cast in the show – all of which displayed impressive professionalism and seemed to thoroughly enjoy sharing the stage with each other.

Another great casting choice was Chloe Schroeder in the role of Miss Jenny Honey. Not only did Schroeder portray the innocence and generosity of Miss Honey in her acting, but also in her singing with numbers like “Pathetic,” “My House,” and my personal favorite, “This Little Girl.”

One actor who caught my eye was Josh Payne. Appearing in several roles throughout the show, including the Doctor, Henchman, and one of the Big Kids, Payne wholeheartedly committed to each part.

Choreographer Katie Milani’s work in “When I Grow Up,” was breathtaking. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the big kids and the little kids dance together in this number about dreams and growing older.

There were also well-timed comedic aspects of the show. For instance, Jakob’s delivery of the line, “Are you poor?” to Miss Honey was a favorite of mine.

City Circle’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical exceeded my expectations – the cast went above and beyond and the dedication to excellence was clear from the audience.