4 new Matildas set to take the Broadway stage

December 11, 2013 • Entertainment

This undated image released by Boneau/Bryan-Brown shows actress Ava Ulloa. Ulloa, along with Ripley Sobo, Gabriella Pizzolo, and Paige Brady, have joined the Broadway company of “Matilda The Musical” and will begin performances in the title role over the course of the next few weeks. (AP Photo/Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

NEW YORK (AP) — A fresh batch of Matildas are en route to Broadway.

Producers of the hit British import “Matilda the Musical” have tapped Paige Brady, Gabriella Pizzolo, Ripley Sobo, and Ava Ulloa as the next group who will rotate playing the telekinetic heroine at the Shubert Theatre.

The four will replace Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro, who all received Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, a non-competitive commendation. The transition will hopefully be done by the end of January.

Ten-year-old Paige, from the Philadelphia area, is making her Broadway debut, as is 10-year-old Gabriella, from upstate New York, and 9-year-old New York City native Ava. Ten-year-old Ripley, also from upstate New York, made her Broadway debut in “Once.”

“Matilda,” which opened in April, is a witty musical adaptation of the beloved novel by Roald Dahl and is true to his bleak vision of childhood as a savage battleground.

The musical tells the story of a precocious and slightly telekinetic Matilda Wormwood, an English girl who loves to read despite the disdain of her sleazy parents. She is befriended by a kindly teacher but opposed by the fearsome school headmistress.

The use of four rotating Matildas in New York echoes the way it was done in Britain, to huge success. All four actresses in London were jointly declared best actress at the Olivier Awards, the most prestigious honor in British theater.


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