On Stage Presents “Matilda The Musical”

Press release from On Stage

Popular adaptation of the Roald Dahl story opens a nine-show run on July 15

“Matilda the Musical” opens at On Stage July 15 starring K.J. Gerhardt as Miss Agatha Turnbull, Jill Maristela as Matilda Wormwood and Paula Gerhardt as Miss Honey. Photo Credit: Daniel Donaldson

MONROE, Ga. – On Stage, Monroe’s community theater, presents the award-winning “Matilda The Musical,” the hilarious story of a bright little girl who outsmarts horrible adults, in nine performances from July 15-31.

“Matilda is an adventure that reminds adults of their childhood and children of all ages to be kind to one another,” said Marc Hammes, On Stage artistic director. “We have an amazing cast of young and adult actors.  Be ready to be impressed with their talent!”

The G-rated musical, which won Tony and Olivier awards, will be staged at 8 p.m. on July 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30; with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on July 24 and 31. Tickets go on sale July 1 and are $20 except for ‘Ten Dollar Tuesday” at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Carmichael’s Drugs (cash and check only) and online at www.onstagewalton.org (credit card only). Facemasks are optional, subject to change by CDC recommendations.

Hammes directs the play with Laura Griffin. The 21-member cast includes Jill Maristela as Matilda Wormwood, KJ Gerhardt as Miss Agatha Turnbull, Paula Gerhardt as Miss Honey (and choreographer), and siblings Elizabeth Pope and Russell Pope Jr. Julianne Merritt is music director.

Jill Maristela, 8, says Matilda is a “smart, brave, book-loving girl.” Jill is the daughter of Joseph and Joan Maristela and a rising third-grader at George Walton Academy. This is her first role and says it is “very fun! Cause I love telling stories, singing, and dancing!” She’s read the Dahl book and says, “I think it’s a very good book. But there’s a lot of details in the book that I wish I could do in the musical.”

Hammes noted that the show is bittersweet because it is the final performance for On Stage veterans Paula Gerhardt and her husband KJ Gerhardt, who met in the theater’s production of “Shrek.”

“KJ and I met while playing Shrek and Princess Fiona together in 2016,” said Paula Gerhardt, who also is an On Stage board member. “We started dating in 2018 and were married December 2019.” The couple is moving to Cincinnati. “Matilda” is Paula’s 15th mainstage show at the theater. “It goes without saying, On Stage has had a huge impact on my life,” she said.

KJ Gerhardt said playing Trunchbull, the evil principal of Matilda’s school, “has me accessing all the qualities of a true authoritarian hellbent on subjugating all childish lifeforms into obedient adults. It’s fun to try and squash the children’s rebellion but the real challenge is being a big, evil bully to a group of very fun, clever and talented young actors.”

ABOUT ON STAGE: On Stage seeks to promote community theatre with its honored traditions. Our goal is to introduce, entertain, inspire, and engage audiences with live performances. We strive to educate this and future generations in the arts and crafts of theater through workshops and performances.

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