Houston Actress Cast in Matilda the Musical National Tour
Humphreys School of Musical Theatre Alumnus MEGAN McGUFF plays Hortensia
by Bernadette Verzosa
MATILDA the MUSICAL is playing at the Hobby Center from October 6-18
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Around this time last year, Houstonian Megan McGuff went on a road trip with her mom. They drove up the East Coast in pursuit of a passion. Their destination was New York City where Matilda the Musical was holding auditions for its first national tour. McGuff had trained at Theater Under The Stars’ (TUTS) Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) and felt well prepared.
At 4 feet ten inches tall, 20-year-old McGuff was invited to audition for both the children’s roles and adult roles. After nearly six months and several rounds of callbacks, she was cast as Matilda’s friend Hortensia, a role usually played by a child. “I screamed in the production manager’s ear! I was so excited,” she says. “This is my first official national tour and it’s just fun! I’m so grateful to be part of it. I get to work with amazing children who keep my energy up.”
As one of the children, McGuff is in many popular musical numbers including the opening scene “Miracle,” the clever “School Song,” the wistful “When I Grow Up” and “Revolting Children,” a tune that may become an anthem for kids’ independence.
The show is based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl. Matilda is a brilliant and precocious little girl who loves books and reading. She must overcome parents who discourage and mock her, as well as a school principal who dislikes children.
The critically acclaimed Matilda the Musical was developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It has won seven Laurence Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards.
Twelve talented children are in the cast of Matilda the Musical including three girls who share the title role. The children range in age from 8 years old to 12 years old. They travel with their parents and guardians, with the show scheduled to visit more than 30 cities through next year.
McGuff also travels with her mother Jill. “She’s on tour with me,” says the actress. “We’re very close so it’s like bringing the comfort of home with me.”
The proud mom adds, “I’m so happy for Megan that she is doing what she loves to do. It’s amazing – seeing her perform and seeing her grow. We’re getting to see so many places together and do things we haven’t done. It’s an experience we’ll remember always.”
McGuff was born in Galveston and grew up in Pearland. She spent four years at HSMT taking dance, voice and acting classes. She starred in several TUTS productions including Legally Blonde, Annie and Cathy Rigby’s Peter Pan.
“Megan has the best attitude towards this business. She is so talented, truly a triple threat and the most humble young lady,” says Shay Rodgers, Manager of HSMT. “HSMT was able to give her both the technique needed to keep healthy on tour as well as the professional experiences that helped prepare her for this experience.”