Where Are They Now: All The Matildas

When Roald Dahl first introduced Matilda to the world in 1988, he probably never thought about just how long the legacy would last, and in so many different mediums. An imagination as great as Matilda Wormwood herself could have never dreamed that kids and adults all over the world would be in love with this character and her world through a beloved movie and a hit musical that are popular all over the world. Moreover, Roald Dahl probably would have never guessed just how many times his cherished Matilda would be brought to life by actors for years to come. Over the past 28 years, Matilda has been played by a number of girls in various adaptations, and here’s a look at those talented Wormwoods and where they are now.

Matilda – Musical, 1990

Annabelle Lanyon

Annabelle Lanyon was a child actress who is best known for playing Dora Keith in the British mini-series of Anne of Avonlea, as pictured here. But in 1990, when she was 29, she starred as Matilda in the first musical adaptation of the book. I couldn’t find pix of her in the production, but since she’s supposed to be like 7, I figured this photo would suffice. Anyways, the musical featured music and lyrics by Ken Howard and Alan Blaiklev and toured theaters around the UK. Reviews were mixed and unfortunately lost in the public’s conscious forever. Annabelle quit acting in 1992, but returned in 2000 and is currently filming two movies.

Matilda – Movie, 1996

Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson is probably the best known actress for playing little Matilda, thanks to the movie we’ve been talking about all week. By the time she filmed Matilda, Mara already had Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street under her belt, but her mother died of breast cancer while they were filming Matilda. This life-changing event made her lose her passion for acting, and has only been in front of the camera several times ever since. She graduated from NYU in 2009, and is v active on the Interwebz with Twitter and podcasts (Welcome to Night Vale) etc. Just this week, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, she released an autobiography called Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.

Matilda – Radio Programme, 2009

Lauren Mote

BBC Radio 4, being super British, featured a dramatized version of Matilda for a classic serial as part of the BBC Christmas season. Voice actress Lauren Mote, who was 12 at the time, took on the lead in the two-part series, which you can maybe eventually watch on their website.

Matilda – Musical, 2010

The Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned a second musical adaptation of the book and found much better success thanks in part to a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. It premiered in the West End in 2011 and ended up winning seven Olivier Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbull (yes, you read that right) and a tie between all four tiny Matildas for Best Actress in a Musical. The show opened on Broadway in 2013 and found similar success at the Tonys, winning four trophies and a special prize for all four tiny Matildas for Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre. Since then, there have been tours in both the US and Australia, and a production in Toronto which opened in July. But for those looking to see the show on Broadway, you only have a few months left – the production is closing on January 1st.

West End
Cleo Demetriou

Before Matilda, Cleo appeared in productions of The Sound of Music (Gretl, duh), the ENRON musical and Les Mis (Young Cosette, duh). She is now 15 (and a legit teen, per Instagram), and stars in a British sitcom called So Awkward.

Kerry Ingram

Kerry’s only theatre expereience before Matilda was in a West End revival of Oliver!, but her career only got bigger after starring in Matilda by scoring roles in hit TV shows like Wolf Hall and British medical soap (think Grey’s) Doctors. But you may know her as Shireen Baratheon in Game of Thrones, a show we definitely are huge fans of and understand completely.

Sophia Kiely

Sophia’s only professional credit to date is Matilda, and it seems she stepped out of the spotlight after taking her final bow. So much so that she doesn’t have any social media accounts (that I can easily Google). The only thing we know for sure is that she is four years older than when she played Matilda.

Eleanor Worthington Cox

Eleanor continues to work on the stage, appearing in London productions of To Kill A Mockingbird, Bugsy Malone and Tomcat. On British TV she’s starred in shows like Cucumber, Hetty Feather, and The Enfield Haunting, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the British Academy Television Awards.

Sophia Gennusa

After Matilda, Sophia was back on Broadway last year in the musical adaptation of Doctor Zhivago – which only lasted three weeks. But her greatest accomplishment yet – being the singer for the current Sesame Street theme song.

Oona Laurence

Prior to Matilda, Oona played “Spiteful Mean Girl #4” on Louie, but she may be the most successful Matilda yet. After leaving the show, she booked roles on Law & Order: SVU, Blindspot, and Orange Is The New Black, playing 10-year-old Tiffany aka Pennsatucky in a flashback. Over the past year, she has worked with stars like Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back), Janeane Garofalo (Little Boxes), Robert Redford (Pete’s Dragon), Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw) and Mila Kunis (Bad Moms). So yeah, she’s doin OK.

Bailey Ryon

Bailey starred in other notable family faves before Matilda, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. These days, she is focusing on her career as a dancer, and performs with hte Susquehanna Youth Ballet in Pennsylvania.

Milly Shapiro

Matilda still stands as Milly’s lone professional credit, but she and her sister Abigail are hoping to be the next Lennon and Maisy by posting performances on YouTube. Check them out singing Defying Gravity at 54 Below.

Highs and Lows: 2013 Tony Awards

Very High [Like When You Score In The 99th Percentile On A Standardized Test Because There Is No 100th]: Matilda the Musical performance

I know as a grown adult I’m supposed to find kid actors insufferable, Broadway kid actors even more so, and Broadway kid actors affecting Mockney accents worst of all. But MATILDA! I loved the book and the movie, and my inner 10-year-old is scheming about how to get herself into the title role. Revolting Children was the most energetic Tony performance I’ve seen since Totally Fucked from Spring Awakening.

Middle-to-Low [Like When You Get Lower Orchestra Seats But They End Up Being Right Before The First Section Break]: Characters from musicals introducing numbers from other musicals

There’s a reason that, in Disney princess marketing, all of the princesses stare vacantly into different directions. You need to pretend that they’re all part of their own story. Tiana doesn’t know Ariel, you know (except probably in fanfiction).

I need the same things with my plays. The Newsies do not know Matilda, right? I willfully suspend a lot of disbelief when I’m watching a musical. Basically, we all know about the fourth wall, but now I want us to build a fifth one, too – between characters from different musicals who never the twain shall meet. What is this, that 90s antidrug video where every character from every cartoon united to keep kids off of opiates?

High [Like A Hemline That’s Not Scandalous But You Probably Wouldn’t Wear In A House Of God]: Neil Patrick Harris’s  play-musical mashups

42nd Streetcar Named Desire; Children of a Lesser Godspell; Cats on a Hot Tin Roof;The Diary of Anne Frank-enstein the Musical (Justin Bieber would love it!); Cabaret-son in the Sun. I have a soft spot for grandpa humor.

Low [Like When You Make A List Of Common Denominators Then Choose The Least One]: Tom Hanks’ mustache.

For a role, maybe? I used to live in the Mustache Capitol Of America (Buffalo, NY), and I’ve seen better. It’s looking kind of Chaplin-y… and that’s me being as inoffensive and charitable as possible.

Somewhere kind of in the middle, maybe slightly more toward the high end [like a house in a suburb where the school district is good but not great]: Bring It On: The Musical

I love musicals and I love Bring It On, but It’s All Happening was not all happening for me. Does anyone know if the musical is set in the early 2000s like the movie? I ask because of the costumes. If so, that bumps this performance up to a high.

Lower-Middle [Like If It Was A TV Family’s Socio-Economic Status It Would Be The Conners from Roseanne]: Cinderella

I don’t care how 90s this makes me, I love the version of Cinderella with Brandy and whoever that smokeshow prince was. And I always love a good Rodgers and Hammerstein show. It’s sort of nice how this revival is just genuinely and unironically Cinderella. Like, it’s the difference between naming a baby Barbara because it’s your grandma’s name and naming your baby Barbara because all of the other hipsters have used the good old-lady names. I just can’t get too excited, is all. My praise is this, then: this revival of Cinderella is like a baby unironically named Barbara in 2013.

Upper-Middle or Possibly High [The Huxtables in the TV Family Class System]: Motown The Musical

There’s no good reason this should be too much fresher than Cinderella. I mean, this could be a baby unironically named Sharon. I just really like these songs, though! I Want You Back is one of my top cleaning/ chopping veggies tunes and that little boy is SO good! Plot? Who needs it!

Pretty High [Like When You’re Doing A High Five But It’s With Someone Smaller Than You Like Maybe A Child]: Cyndi Lauper winning best score for Kinky Boots

Is her accent real or just an impression of Rizzo from the Grease movie? Or a NY-area pickle vendor from the 1930s? I don’t know and I don’t need to know. I love it.

Middling [Like A Regular Five With Someone Your Same Height]: The performance from the Annie revival

Like any glitter-blooded hammy American kid, I loved Annie. Still do. But I wasn’t much more blown away by this performance than by your average good local production of it. Jane Lynch got laughs, but it seemed more like that “haha, there’s Jane Lynch” thing that happens with stunt casting, not so much her performance. Also, the adorable and talented little girls are seriously borrowing Lauper’s accent, right?

Very High Indeed [Like The Woman On The Bus Last Week Who Pulled On One Of My Curls Then Asked My Ethnicity]: Anna Kendrick

She only presented an award, but we’re fans here. I just like when she’s around.

High [Like a Thermostat On A Winter Day]: A Christmas Story: The Musical

Ladies and gents, 2013 is the year of musicals with a title followed by “colon – The Musical”. I don’t know if this musical is any good. I don’t care, either. The marriage of one of the most beloved Christmas films ever and the musical genre? I don’t object. Also, tap dancing.

Middle [Like A Christopher And Banks In The Center Of A Shopping Mall In The Middle Of The County In The Center Of The State That Is The Middlemost Point In Middle America]: Phantom Of The Opera

If Rodgers and Hammerstein is naming your daughter Barbara without irony in 2013, and Motown is naming her Sharon, this is naming her something crazy-80s yet flashy at the same time. Khrystall or Tyffani perhaps?

A Little Low [Like Realizing That Post-College You Can’t Drink Without Getting A Hangover]: The moment I realized that Billy Porter looks better in a dress than I do.

High But Trying Not To Be High [Like my friend in college who was smoking and started talking about how communist China was the best set-up in the world, and I told him “Yeah, unless you’re a baby girl”]: Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors In Memorium

This song always gets me. Remember the Dove commercial or something when a bunch of self-confident Girl Scouts sang it? Ugh. But it’s even worse when it’s played over an in memorium slideshow with Lauper on a melodium or something. I don’t want to love it, but I sort of love it.

High [Like A Beautiful Eagle Flying Higher Than You Can Dream]: Cicely Tyson

I understand that technically everyone is created equal. I just can’t help but feel that some people are actually a little better than the rest of us, though. Cicely Tyson is one of those people. Don’t think that I’m just saying that because she’s almost 80, either. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman-era Tyson was every bit as superior to you as well.

High Because It’s Low [Like that one song that reminds you of whatever it is that makes you saddest, that you still listen to sometimes to remind yourself that you still can feel]: Once: The Musical performance

Once is one of my favorite movies that I have seen only once or twice and may not be able to bring myself to watch  again. I love The Swell Season but they’re kind of a downer, in a hurts so good kind of way.

Low and Deep [Like that pit in your stomach when you check your work email on Sunday night and find out that Monday’s going to be crazy.]: The embarrassment that in 2013 we’re treating New York State Of Mind like a relevant song to parody.