IDS: Constellation presents beloved Tony Award-Winning musical Matilda
Constellation presents beloved Tony Award-Winning musical Matilda
By Lilly Luse | Dec 10
This year for their annual holiday production, Constellation Stage and Screen presents Matilda for the first time Dec 14-31 at The Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The family musical features local and national talent as well as IU theater students. The holiday show is the biggest show Constellation puts on every year, drawing up to ten thousand audience members over the show’s run.
The production is helmed by Kate Galvin, who has directed several hit productions with Constellation prior to Matilda and works as Constellation’s Casting Director and Creative Producer. She has been working in Bloomington for six years and says upon moving here that she had heard about the holiday tradition of the Matilda shows and how special it is for local families, “People get dressed up and there’s all these little girls in adorable dresses, and it’s like it’s wonderful to be able to give that gift to families of something for them to do together over the holidays.”
This production also features several IU theater students in the cast, who can gain experience in a professional production and have time on stage in front of large nightly audiences.
Regarding student involvement Galvin says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for those students to work in a different setting outside of the university. We also have a reciprocal relationship in that some of the people who work for Constellation then go do some teaching over at the school. Some people who teach at the school come over and work for us. I think it’s really contributing to the growth on both sides.”
Matthew Mason Baker, a senior BFA Theater student, is a member of the adult ensemble in the production. Baker says that it can be difficult to balance school and running to rehearsals, “but it’s also fun working with the kids and learning in a very professional process with Kate Galvin who is a wonderful director and has an awesome vision for the show and to be able to come in and have a professional process. It’s great to have a piece that challenges you dance-wise but everyone in the show has such vibrant personalities and it’s awesome to learn and play alongside such wonderful artists.”
The story of Matilda and its various stage and screen adaptations are widely beloved, and Baker has loved the musical for as long as he has been interested in theater, “Especially for people my age in musical theater, a lot of us grew up listening to that music and it came out when we were all in elementary or middle school, and it was one of the first shows about us being in school. I auditioned for the project, and I was so very excited and I got a callback for the doctor and went to the dance call and was lucky enough to find out literally a week after that I had booked the job.”
Lauren Haughton Gillis is the choreographer for Matilda. She is a professor in the Musical Theatre Department at IU and a professional with years of experience in New York theater.
Haughton Gillis shared that the story of Matilda is very dear to her heart as it was her favorite book as a child and one of the first she could read on her own. She says that this message of strength and resilience translates to the production as well, on collaborating with Galvin, she says, “I think it’s great that Kate and I are taking on the show together directing and choreographing because the story is really empowering to little girls and to women.”
This musical has been a labor of love for the cast and crew. The collaboration between IU students, professors, and both Bloomington and national talent enriches our local community with a place for growth in theater arts.
Haughton Gillis remarks, “I think it’s important to expose young people to how special theater can be and collaboration and coming together and teamwork and how hard it is to put on a show. It just really depends on every single person just being a part of that at such a young age, whether they’re going to be performers or not, I think it’s just there’s so much value and so many learning outcomes to being in a space like we have, it’s just been an amazing experience so far.”
Constellation has provided an avenue for local theater talent to perform and for Bloomington residents to be able to experience professional theater and unique stories right here in town, and ones they can bring their families to.
Haughton Gillis shares, “I think it’s amazing what they’re doing here and as a kid who was always looking for an outlet to perform or to just be around other kids who like theater and like the arts, I don’t know what this town would be without it to be honest.”
Get tickets to see Matilda Dec 14-31 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater website or at the box office and maybe even start a new holiday tradition.