By Neely Stratton
For the Beacon 

Meadowdale Players: Live and in person after 3 years


Last updated 5/12/2022 at 11:01am

Neely Stratton

Meadowdale Players rehearse "Matilda the Musical."

The thrill of live performances have returned to the Meadowdale High School drama program with its upcoming production of "Matilda the Musical" in the school's Blackbox Theater. It opens May 12.

While the Meadowdale Players continued to perform their regular slate of shows during the pandemic, including a winter play, a spring musical and several student-directed performances, everything was produced virtually.

"Matilda" will represent their return to live musical theater after a three-year hiatus.

"For many in the show, this is their very first live theater experience, even if it's their third or fourth show," said Jacqueline Meyners, drama teacher at Meadowdale.

"It's been really special to see them all getting to experience those thrills for the first time and to see all their hard work pay off."

The theme of the year for the Meadowdale Players has been "community," and the drama program has included many discussions of why it's important. The adaptation of Roald Dahl's "Matilda" depicts a young girl finding a community to help her achieve her dreams.

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"Any audience member will be inspired by Matilda's earnest approach to life and her journey to fit in," said Meyners. "The story tugs at your heartstrings, the music is a blast, and the show is very, very fun."

Among the students playing leading roles in the show is Lauren Armstrong, a freshman, in the role of Matilda. Armstrong was involved in theater in middle school and describes it as her passion.

"This is my first big show. I'm excited to see it all come together," she said.

Other primary roles are played by Elora Walker, Charlie Iliff, Roan McAuley, and Nikki Susanto, along with a full supporting cast. Understudies include Helena Abiye, Natalie Webster, Khloe Hulbert, and Cam Moore.

The work behind the scenes highlights the concept of community as effectively as the musical itself.

"I know how much work everyone has put into the show. It's so rewarding," said Armstrong. "We're a big family by the end."

Meyners said the drama program has grown this year to include about 50 students applying to perform in this musical. Next year, four of the five classes she teaches will be drama classes to accommodate the growth in the drama program, a goal she has been working toward since she started as a teacher at Meadowdale in 2019.

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"When more students take classes, it greatly expands the possibilities for the quality of the productions we can put on," she said. "I'm excited to see this growth in the program and to see how it affects our season next year."

Neely Stratton

Lauren Armstrong ("Matilda") and Hannah Dizard ("Miss Phelps") practice their lines also during rehearsals.

"Matilda the Musical" will run at Meadowdale's Blackbox Theater at 7 p.m. from Thursday, May 12 through Saturday, May 14, and from Wednesday, May 18 through Friday, May 20. The May 13 show will include the understudies playing the leading roles.

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Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased for $12 for adults and $10 for students through


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