Wednesday evening we went to the opening night performance of Matilda at the Vista Moonlight Amphitheater. We have been season ticket-holders for about 3 years now, and before that I attended a good number of plays there over the years. If you aren’t aware of this theater, you are missing out on a true GEM in the North County area. (I’m constantly amazed at how many of my friends have never heard of this theater. Where have you been, people?) Every play that we have seen here has been superb. The last play, The Producers had people who had been involved in the BROADWAY production of the play. It doesn’t get any better than this folks!
One thing I love about The Moonlight is that it is an outdoor theater. There aren’t too many of them around the San Diego area. You have a choice of 3 types of seats- regular theater seating (chairs), general lawn, which is at the top of the hill and first-come type of seating on the grass, or the reserved lawn tiers, which are between the theater seating rows. I LOVE the reserved lawn tier seats! It is fake turf, so no grass or dirt stains….. but you get an area about 6 ft deep and as wide as a “seat” so that you can picnic at your place before the play! They give you low folding chairs to sit on, so you can enjoy your picnic and the performance, without blocking the regular theater seats behind you. We purchase 4 seats each season, so that at each play we can bring another couple that we’d like to get to know a little better and enjoy a picnic dinner before the play. The tickets at Moonlight are some of the least expensive play tickets you will find in San Diego county, so even purchasing 4 tickets per play is STILL a raving deal! Their highest priced tickets are under $60.00,the reserved lawn tiers under $30.00 each, and the general lawn tickets come in under $20.00. I think when you buy season tickets it comes to less than that price! Where in San Diego can you purchase play tickets for that price? Again, if you haven’t been to The Moonlight, check it out. There are still 2 plays this season!
Now, on to Matilda. I’m going to admit, I knew NOTHING about the play, and wondered if this was just going to be a play for children. NOT AT ALL! The minute the first actors come on the stage you are enthralled! It takes place in England, so everyone in the cast has an English accent. The talented Vanessa Dinning was the dialect coach, and as always she did a fabulous job working with the cast that is made up predominantly of children. (Vanessa happens to be a family friend, but she does the dialect coaching for most San Diego area plays when there is an English accent involved, and does a superb job of it!)
More about the cast later, but it’s the STORY LINE of Matilda that I SO SO SO love! The character of Matilda comes from an abusive household, with parents who have not a bit of kindness or love toward her. There is also a tyrannical headmistress who is awful to Matilda. But this story shows that no matter what your circumstances are, you can succeed. Matilda is a brilliant little girl, with some special powers, and books are her refuge. Matilda sings a songs that says “Nobody but me is gonna change my story, so sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit naughty.” This is the childhood version of “Living a Royal Life” that I talk about all the time. In SPITE of terrible circumstances, Matilda has the courage to do what is right, and makes the best, for herself, and those around her. She refuses to be a victim. She stands up for herself- in spite of what the outcome may be. She realizes that no one is going to do it for her, she has to make the best of her life. I wish that more of our society would do this for themselves! (I get REALLY tired of the victim mentality lately……….. )
I loved every minute of this play. The darling young actress who plays Matilda (Charity Rose @CharityRose) does a brilliant job in the role! She couldn’t be better! The whole cast, singing, dancing and performing the whole she-bang with English accents are beyond compare. One of my favorite area actors, Randall Hickman, plays Miss Trunchbull. He has made a name for himself playing the evil female parts in a few plays locally, including Ursulla in Moonlight’s “The Little Mermaid” a few years ago. I LOVE his acting!
The director is Jamie Tocellini and everything I’ve seen him involved with has been amazing!
Everything You Need to Know About The Moonlight…
The play would be great for kids (probably about 8 and up) who you would like to introduce to live theater, but don’t feel that you need any children with you to fit in and enjoy this play. The large majority of the audience was adults when we were there, and everyone around was exclaiming how fabulous they thought it was.
Matilda is running through August 3rd. Do yourself a favor and get some tickets to go see it. https://www.moonlightstage.com/ You will be glad you did!
Then, check out tickets for the other two plays this season, West Side Story August 14-31 and Victor Victoria September 11-28.
I am SO excited about next year’s season, which is going to have 5 different performances, and includes An American In Paris, Something Rotten, Cinderella, Ragtime and Kinky Boots! 4 of the 5 plays are totally new to me, so I am thrilled for the 2020 season!