Forget Halloween — if you really want to see children delight in costumes and festivities, check out two theater productions slated for this weekend. Christian Youth Theater in Santa Cruz brings a new take on Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” to the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College, while All About Theatre stages a season-appropriate production of “The Addams Family” at the London Nelson Community Center.
This weekend in Santa Cruz County, there are a lot of kids having fun in costumes and it has nothing to do with Halloween.
Two big (unrelated) children’s theater productions are slated for this weekend — Christian Youth Theater (CYT) in Santa Cruz brings a new take on Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” to the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College; and All About Theatre (AAT) stages a season-appropriate production of “The Addams Family” at London Nelson Center.
For CYT Santa Cruz, “Matilda” marks a return to the Crocker for the first time since before the start of the pandemic in 2020. The organization began back in 2010 as a way to expose children and teens to the thrills and responsibilities of live theater. Counting the on-stage cast, the backup crew and other jobs associated with the production, “Matilda” features about 100 local young people.
“It’s really exciting to think about how [these young people] are going to be the next generation of great artists,” said Brooke Novak, CYT Santa Cruz’s artistic director. “And that’s not going to stop for them when they graduate from the program and move on.”
“Matilda,” adapted from Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel for children, tells the story of the title character, a young girl trapped between two callous parents and a tyrannical headmistress at her school. But Matilda has a secret weapon in her struggle to survive her upbringing — she can move things with her mind. The novel was adapted into a musical, which premiered in the United Kingdom in 2010.
“We will be using [musical recordings] and no live band this time,” said Novak. “But our hope is definitely that if all goes well with our return that we will get to add the live music next time. But we’ve got lots of fun in store. We have scooters and bouncy balls flying, baby dolls fly — we’ve got all sorts of exciting things on stage.”
CYT Santa Cruz is a Christian ministry-based program, though it is not directly affiliated with any local church. It welcomes any and all kids to its after-school program. Novak served for several years as artistic director of the organization in the 2010s. She stepped away for family reasons but is now back in charge just in time to guide the organization back to its pre-pandemic normal.
“Matilda” plays for only three performances, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The company will return to the stage in spring 2024 with Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” and is planning “The Addams Family” for summer.
If you can’t wait nine months to see a staged production of “The Addams Family,” All About Theatre has you covered. AAT is staging “The Addams Family” for seven performances at the London Nelson Community Center beginning Friday and running through the following Saturday, Nov. 4. AAT is a nonprofit theater program featuring workshops and classes as well as performances for kids as young as 3. After “Addams,” AAT will continue on with productions of Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” in December, and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in January.
CYT Santa Cruz presents “Matilda” at the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College, Friday through Sunday. All About Theatre presents “The Addams Family” at the London Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz, Friday through Saturday, Nov. 4.
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