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Coquitlam school mounts 'Matilda The Musical' at same time as movie release

Pinetree Secondary's musical theatre and tech classes are staging the popular musical in February 2023.

Natalee Lovelock wanted to do SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.

The drama teacher at Coquitlam’s Pinetree Secondary picked that show for her musical theatre class and tech students to mount in 2023 because, not only did she have the right cast and crew, it’s also an inclusive play with lots of fun and unique characters.

But a few of her students and graduates who would be involved expressed doubt.

Instead, they suggested Treehouse Theatre produce Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, which tells the story of an extraordinary girl with a vivid imagination who takes a stand.

After all, they urged, Lovelock had taken her theatre students to New York City in 2014, as part of a musical theatre field trip, and they had seen the show performed live.

Lovelock signed on, but it was only a few months later they realized their show would come out at the same time a new movie version would be released in North America.

“We had no idea,” she told the Tri-City News, “but it’s been an added bonus for us.”

For the school presentation, which is on Feb. 1 to 3 and Feb. 8 to 10 at 7 p.m. in the Pinewood Avenue building, a total of 55 students, teachers and staff are on — or behind — the stage and in the orchestra pit, the latter under the direction of Rouvin Seah; Pinetree Secondary graduate Kylie Fonacier is the musical director of Matilda.

Lovelock said the musical’s original score by composer Tim Minchin “is just amazing,” noting the quality is in similar style to the musical theatre master Stephen Sondheim’s.

What’s best about Matilda “is it’s about kids and has a lot of kids in it. There are a lot of strong roles for females, too. It’s also inclusive and that’s something important for me.”

• Tickets to see Treehouse Theatre’s Matilda The Musical are $15/$10 at the Pinetree Secondary office (3000 Pinewood Ave., open Monday to Friday during school hours); via School Cash Online; or at the door on show nights. The show is rated PG for thematic elements, exaggerated bullying and language.