At 15 and with a wealth of experience already behind her in television and film, native Californian Cassie Silva left the West Coast and headed inland for Colorado. A few years later she kept on heading east all the way to New York.
“I just felt like I needed to get out of Los Angeles and look for something, some soul food, something to quench my appetite for creativity,” said Silva, who plays Mrs. Wormwood, mother of the title character in the national touring production of “Matilda The Musical,” coming to Proctors for six days beginning next Tuesday.
“I’ll continue to do TV and film, but I have a wonderful opportunity to continue in the theater and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m so intrigued by the structure of art and storytelling. Give me a story, something whacky, and I love to figure out how to do it.”
‘Matilda The Musical’
WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 1:30 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10, 8 p.m. Dec. 11, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 12 and 2 p.m. Dec. 13
HOW MUCH: $90-$20
MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org
When she was 18, Silva played Brenda, a member of the Corny Collins Show, in the 2007 film “Hairspray,” with John Travolta.
She was in a number of other films and television shows, and also worked on stage, winning the Stage Scene LA Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress for her portrayal of Judy Haynes in “White Christmas.”
In 2010 she moved to New York to join the ensemble cast of “Rock of Ages,” and when “Matilda The Musical” opened in April of 2013 she soon joined the cast as the cook and as an understudy in the role of Mrs. Wormwood.
“I played it for three weeks,” Silva said of the Mrs. Wormwood part. “But when you’re an understudy you’re the lead’s champion. You do whatever you can to lift them up and be there for them whenever they need you. And I had the role of the cook, so I kept myself pretty busy.”
“Matilda The Musical,” which is still running on Broadway, was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won four of them.
“I think the show is really able to encapsulate you in that world that Roald Dahl created with his book, which the musical is based on,” said Silva.
“The costumes, the set are wonderful, and the play also deals with complex themes like bullying. It looks at the darker side of things in a farcical light, and I think it’s also important that the writers, Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, wrote the musical for adults with children in mind.”
The story is about Matilda, a precocious 5-year-old girl with telekinetic ability.
Also a voracious reader, Matilda overcomes various obstacles put in her life by family and school, and by doing so helps her teacher reclaim her life.
Finding new insights
“It’s a show that everybody can find something in, and it’s a show you want to see over and over again,” said Silva. “I’ve been involved with the show for a year and a half and I’m still finding new things in it. Things that are incredible food for thought. That’s what draws people in. It’s like a mysterious little treasure that grabs ahold of you.”
During her time with the Broadway show, Silva got to know Niskayuna’s Gabriella Pizzolo, who was one of three young girls playing Matilda. Pizzolo, now 12, is currently on Broadway in “Fun Home.”
“Gabby was the first Matilda I met when I was understudying,” said Silva. “When you work with kids you rehearse first with adults — I think because it’s so hard to scream at children. Gabby was so professional and so sweet. I felt bad because I was yelling at her, but she helped me get comfortable pretty quickly. She was a lot of fun.”
The current national tour has three Matildas; Gabby Gutierrez, Mia Sinclair Jennes and Mabel Tyler. Jennifer Blood is Miss Honey.
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