Meet the women behind Matilda’s music and dance

Musical director Leslie Blair, right, and choreographer Jill Bradley team up to make Matilda The Musical as perfect as possible.

Ever wonder what it takes to get a huge cast of all age groups prepared to hit the correct notes and remember all the choreography?

Musical director Leslie Blair and choreographer Jill Bradley certainly do.

These women have been working hard with the cast for Halifax County Little Theatre’s production of Matilda the Musical, which opens March 24.

Blair is a full-time music teacher at Dan River High School and Dan River Middle School in Ringgold.

She is also the pianist for Ringgold Baptist Church. Blair is an Averett University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.

Blair brings a wealth of experience to the production team of HCLT’s Matilda including playing piano accompaniment for Danville City Schools, assisting with productions hosted at The Prizery, and being involved with the theater and music departments at Averett University.

Her most recent role was the musical director for Smokestack Theatre’s production of The Firebringer in Danville, Virginia in 2022.

“I loved the 1996 film of Matilda and also loved reading many of the books written by Matilda’s author, Raold Dahl” Blair said was her main reason she was enticed to take on the musical director role for HCLT. “The music is a blast and just like Matilda’s character, there is nothing ordinary about it. You will be entertained from the opening curtain to the final stage bows,” she said.

Teaching all of the movement you will see on stage is choreographer Bradley.

Bradley is a South Boston native who is a 2000 James Madison University graduate with a degree in Dance. Currently a dance instructor at We’ve Got Rhythm Dance Academy and a licensed physical therapist assistant, she also brings a long list of experience to the stage.

She danced professionally with West Virginia Dance Academy, Theatre West Virginia, Merry Go Round Theatre, Annex Dance Company, and Code F.A.D. Company. An HCLT veteran herself, Bradley has been involved with HCLT since she was 12 when she was in West Side Story. She was also in A Christmas Carol, Children of Eden, Beehive, Anything Goes, and most recently, Laughter, Lyrics, and Libations.

“I am excited to be a part of the team bringing Matilda to the stage. My favorite part of every show is seeing all of the parts come together” Bradley said. “My schedule is challenging for this show as I teach dance three nights a week so that only leaves one night a week for choreography rehearsals for Matilda.”

Bradley said, “it will be great to see it all together on stage with sets and costumes when we move from our rehearsal space to the Prizery stage closer to the show opening.”

Rehearsals started before Christmas and have been in full swing for several weeks.

Both women are working hard to ensure every cast member hits the correct notes and knows all of their choreography prior to opening night.

The music and choreography will leave you wanting more.

Halifax County Little Theatre’s production of Matilda The Musical will run from March 24-April 2 at The Prizery in South Boston.

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