St. Aloysius presents ‘Matilda’ matinee Sunday

Published 11:06 pm Saturday, February 24, 2024

When St. Aloysius High School teacher Chesley Lambiotte chose “Matilda the Musical” for this year’s school production, she had no idea how much enthusiasm the show would garner.

Not only did nearly 50 percent of the student body sign on to participate in the production, tickets sold out for all four performances.

“This is our largest cast in seven years,” Lambiotte said of the student involvement. “We also have the most number of first-time cast members to ever be in a St. Al musical.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Lambiotte, who is serving as the director and choreographer, credited the interest shown in the musical to the story’s familiarity.

“I think the popularity of the original book, the movie from the 1990s and the success of the Broadway show itself all play a part in why we had so many audition this year,” she said.

Based on Ronald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel, “Matilda,” the musical is an adaptation of the author’s story, which is about a precocious child who has less-than-caring parents and her time in a school run by authoritarian headmistress Miss Trunchbull.

Assisting Lambiotte with the production are St. Al teachers Christie Beasley as the vocal director, Candice Reeder as set director, and Ashley Davidson as art director. There has also been vast support from parents.

“Jill Pierce has been volunteering as the costume director for 11 years — since her own children were in the musical,” Lambiotte said. “Jeff Davidson and grandparent volunteer Howard Park helped as master carpenters again this year, along with parents Jeremy Beasley and Matt Mallard. This doesn’t include the countless volunteers who have helped with concessions, lobby decorating, and ticket distribution.”

Students began working on vocals for the musical in November, did blocking beginning in January, and this past week, Lambiotte said, rehearsals were held at the Parkside Playhouse Theatre where the musical will be performed.

Participating in a musical can offer students not only an expressive outlet, but also a plethora of experiences that can last a lifetime, she said.

St. Al senior Grace Windham, who is playing Matilda, can attest to Lambiotte’s statement.

“I have enjoyed the many memories I have made over the years and will forever be grateful for all of the lessons I have learned (in being part of the school musicals): confidence, public speaking, teamwork, and the feeling of fulfillment of a job well done at the end of the show,” Windham said.

Being part of the school musical also allows students to “blossom,” Lambiotte said.

First-time cast member Tyler Roberts, who is in the ninth grade, said he was hesitant at first about auditioning but is now glad he did.

“In the beginning I wasn’t so sure it was for me, but I’m so glad I stuck with it because it has allowed me to make friends with people I didn’t know before,” Roberts said.

For St. Al senior Walker Lambiotte, he said, “I started out on the sound team and then eventually gained the confidence to audition for an onstage role,” adding that being part of a musical also taught him how to work well with others, and “how to problem-solve effectively.”

St. Al senior Blair Farrell said participating in the musical has allowed her to feel “productive and involved.”

Since St. Al is a smaller school, Chesley Lambiotte said many of the students are involved in a variety of experiences. Therefore, when they participate in the musical, it gives them the chance to work alongside someone who may be involved elsewhere, which she said creates an additional team-like atmosphere — “one where you will see baseball, football, and tennis players dancing right alongside members of the chess, mock trial, and math and science teams.”

Lambiotte is pleased, she said, by the number of students who see value in being part of a live show.

“In the last 15 to 20 years, it has become commonplace to see ‘musical’ listed on the high school resume of most St. Aloysius graduates. I absolutely love that, and we are hopeful that in the near future, we will have a campus expansion to accommodate our growing fine arts curriculum.”

St. Al’s production of “Matilda the Musical” opened Friday night. Additional performances were held at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and a matinee performance will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart