Summer drama camp attendees will perform ‘Matilda Jr.’ at the Holmes Theater this week


Although this is the third year that the musical has been directed by theater director Kendra Gilsdorf, music director Nick Larson and choreographer Hope Hansen, it was only the second year that they were able to organize auditions and performances. rehearsals at Holmes: Theater Camp last summer The musical “Singin ‘in the Rain” was staged almost entirely online due to state-imposed COVID-19 security restrictions.

“Everyone is excited to be back at the Holmes,” Gilsdorf said, noting that the 2020 pandemic restrictions meant they could only stage snippets of the show, and they had to host the show at the City Park Bandshell rather than the main theater stage.

Additionally, all rehearsals and coaching sessions with Gilsdorf, Larson and Hansen had to take place virtually rather than in person, which meant that much of the experience of being a part of a live theatrical production was lost. .

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“We ended up only presenting about half of the show,” Hansen said of last summer’s live performance.

This year, on the other hand, the kids were able to rehearse together almost daily for the past three weeks, leading up to this week’s technical rehearsals. Additionally, the directors and choreographers were able to teach children a lot more about what it means to perform a live theatrical production, from the use of props, microphones and costumes to lighting and sound effects.

The cast of "Mathilde Jr." rehearses their opening number on stage at the historic Holmes Theater on Wednesday, June 16.  Three performances of the musical will be presented this week, at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.  (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

The cast of “Matilda Jr.” rehearses their opening number on stage at the historic Holmes Theater on Wednesday, June 16. Three performances of the musical will be presented this week, at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

It’s similar to how the “normal” drama camp was organized in 2019, said Gilsdorf, when the production was based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel “James & the Giant Peach”. This year they turned to one of Dahl’s best-known works, “Matilda,” which has been successfully adapted for both the Broadway stage and movie theaters.

“It’s pretty similar to the movie,” Larson said, although this version was shortened to just 60 minutes, making it much more kid-friendly (hence the “Jr.” part of the name).

Besides having the same directors and choreographers, there are also quite a few kids who have been part of the 2019 and 2020 productions – but there are probably just as many participants who have never been on stage before joining this. show, Gilsdorf added.

“It’s a good mix of familiar and new faces,” Hansen said, adding that the 28 children in the cast were ages 5 to 12. “We have the whole range (of ages).”

In addition, many volunteers helped behind the scenes, including parents and Holmes Theater staff.

“There were a lot of helping hands that made a difference,” said Gilsdorf.

“We couldn’t have done this show without them,” Hansen added.

A new addition this year is the large projection screen at the back of the stage, which will be used extensively throughout the show, Gilsdorf said.

“It’s such a fun show,” Larson said – but at the same time, it has some important underlying themes.

“It’s about love and kindness versus unwarranted discipline and bullying – that’s the crux of the story,” said Gilsdorf.

The show’s protagonist, Matilda, is a young girl who enjoys reading books – something that is considered highly unusual and suspicious by her television loving family.

“She’s an outcast,” Gilsdorf said – so much so, in fact, that she was sent back to school.

“A lot of the show takes place at school,” Hansen said. “This is about how Miss Trunchbowl (who runs the school Matilda goes to) tries to ruin these kids, and they end up rebelling against her.”

“Children learn to stand up for themselves and to defend each other,” Gilsdorf explained.

“And demand to be treated with kindness and respect,” Larson added.

As they enter the final days of preparing for the show, “there’s a level of excitement that’s really noticeable, even more so than the other years,” Gilsdorf said.

“It’s really special, for all of us,” added Hansen.

Actors and crew

Main characters:

  • Mathilde: Hannah Barberg
  • Mr. Wormwood: Andrew Nunn
  • Ms. Wormwood: Mara Bestge
  • Agatha Trunchbull: Matthew Morrison
  • Miss Honey: Marian Martin


  • Ms. Phelps: Lily Sundby
  • Bruce: Abram Steinke
  • Lavender: Linnea Aelony
  • Erica: Jenna DeRemer
  • Tommy: Lucas Lundberg
  • Amanda: Brooke Thomas
  • Alice: Willow Noel
  • Hydrangea: KayDee Smith
  • Nigel: Jesse Peterson
  • Escapologist: Jesse Peterson
  • Acrobat: Emma Mitchell
  • Micheal: Elliot Frost
  • Cook: Reagan Badurek
  • Mechanic: Lucas Lundberg
  • Rudolpho: Eric Beaupré
  • Sergei: Reagan Badurek
  • Extra Set (Big Kids / Dads / Moms): Paige Annette, Averi Coley, Ariel Becker, Adelia Hagel, Miriam Hansana, Kendra Nowell, Madeline Reese, Marielle Rufer, Elsa Walter

Behind the scenes :

  • Director: Kendra Gilsdorf
  • Musical Director: Nick Larson
  • Choreographer: Hope Hansen
  • Stage manager: Julia Franco

If you are going to

What: “Matilda Jr.”

When: Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m. Friday, June 25, 7 p.m. and Saturday June 26 11 a.m.

Or: Historic Holmes Theater, 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes

Tickets: $ 10 for adults, $ 5 for students; available for purchase online at or by phone at 218-844-7469.


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