Reading can be magical, so magical it is hard to imagine anything that could beat it, except maybe seeing scenes of a beloved book performed live.
That is exactly what kids were treated to when they attended Grand Island Public Library’s Spring Break program on Tuesday. The cast of Grand Island Central Catholic’s production of “Matilda: The Musical” performed three scenes for the kids and raffled off five copies of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda,” which were signed by members of the cast.
Celine Swan, the youth and family services librarian, was excited to have members of the cast perform for the kids.
“It was really fun to tie in a program with literature and music and we had really good attendance today,” Swan said.
Brigit Baglien, director of the musical, was excited to bring in cast members to perform for the kids.
“I love getting to see the reactions of the kids and having them (the cast) have a chance to interact with people before the show because it kind of changed their characters a little bit,” Baglien said. “It was really cool to see how they fed off the energy of everybody else.”
Since the show opens March 22, the cast enjoyed being able to share little scenes with the kids ahead of time.
Magdalen Heckman, a freshman who plays the title character Matilda, was happy to be able to share her love of the story with the audience.
“They (kids) are always so engaged in things like this,” said Heckman. “I love performing for kids because they are always interested in what we are doing.”
Frank Ortiz, who plays Harry Wormwood, clad in a suit and tie, was excited to show the kids one of his favorite parts of the show.
“I got to do the splits, and that was pretty cool,” said Ortiz with a laugh.
Ortiz added that he enjoyed seeing how the kids reacted to the performance.
“It put a smile on my face,” he said.
Heckman hopes that the kids not only liked the performance, but were inspired by her character.
“I hope they are inspired to read more, like Matilda does,” she said.
Like Heckman, Swan hopes that kids will go pick up more Roald Dahl books to read, which were displayed during the performance.
Swan said they brought the cast to perform for the kids to help show kids different things they can do when they get older.
“I think it’s great for little kids to see as they get older they can be involved in arts because arts are an important thing,” Swan said. “We do a lot of STEAM learning, and tying in the arts is one of my favorite things to do.”
Swan added that some members of the cast have volunteered at the library.
“It’s really cool to see these kids coming in and giving back to the community,” Swan said.
Members of the cast hope that the kids who saw the scenes at the library will want to come see the entire show.
Showtimes for the musical are Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m.