Young stars of Matilda the Musical, Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen, discuss preparations for the show’s opening on July 12 and show us around ‘Matilda Bootcamp’

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Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen discussing Red Mountain Theatre Company's Matilda The Musical
Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen are sharing the role of Matilda in Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Matilda The Musical (Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now)

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Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen will star in Red Mountain Theatre Company’s latest show Matilda The Musical, sharing the role of the  extraordinary little girl with extraordinary powers. 

The talented pair gave us a behind the scenes look at Matilda bootcamp which provides the opportunity for the young cast to prepare for the upcoming show.

Get tickets now (use discount code Matilda7 to save $7 on price level 1 or 2)

Opening Friday, July 12 and running until August 4 at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Matilda The Musical, based on Roald Dahl’s classic 1988 children’s novel.

PREVIEW VIDEO

Purchase your tickets now (Remember Use discount code Matilda7 to save $7.00-Price Level 1 or 2 tickets)! Limited seats. Child ticket prices are also available.

Ramsey and Emma will share the role of Matilda over 28 performances of the latest Red Mountain Theatre Company show. They took time out of their hectic schedule to talk to Bham Now about the show.

Sharing the role of Matilda, meet Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen

Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen discussing Red Mountain Theatre Company's Matilda The Musical
Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen will share the role of Matilda (Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now)

Bham Now: We’re at Berry Middle School (Hoover) today as you prepare for Matilda The Musical. Tell us all about bootcamp!

Ramsey: We’re coming to the end of a three week Matilda bootcamp which has been lots of fun! There’s about 25 young cast members who attend and over this time we get to know each other and learn our songs and choreography. This means we can go into full rehearsals having already learnt our stuff. 

Young cast of Matilda The Musical smile for the camera during Matilda Bootcamp
The young cast of Matilda the Musical prepare at a bootcamp (Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Emma: It’s a long day. Bootcamp lasts from 9am-4pm, but it’s a lot of fun! It’s split into acting, theater, and dance theory. in the morning and after lunch we go into full-on Matilda mode. Today we’re also having our first full rehearsal from 5-10pm, so it’s a REALLY long day, but we’re looking forward to it! 

Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen rehearse choregraphy
Ramsey and Emma practice their scenes as Matilda  in tandem(Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Ramsey: It’s all going to be worth it!

Young cast members of Red Mountain Theatre Company rehearse for Matilda The Musical
The young cast of Matilda the Musical practice their moves (Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Bham Now: How did you both get the acting bug?

Emma: I did a lot of school plays, I auditioned for Alabama Shakespeare Festival, I was in The Sound of Music, and then my voice teacher heard about Matilda The Musical and thought I should audition. I did and luckily, here I am!

Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen discussing Red Mountain Theatre Company's Matilda The Musical
Ramsey and Emma tell us about bootcamp (Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now)

Ramsey: My entire family acts and are very musical. My brother is playing Bruce in Matilda. I started acting when I was four, my first show was Miracle on 34th Street. I also did It’s a Wonderful Life, with Caleb Clark who plays Mrs Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical. I’ve basically been acting my entire life and want to continue doing so, it’s a lot of fun.

Bham Now: What’s the trick to remembering so much choreography, songs, and lines?

Matilda bootcamp at Berry Middle School
Matilda bootcamp at Berry Middle School (Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Ramsey: Practice! But, this is our dream part, so we’re really  motivated to remember it all! It’s been my dream to play this part since first seeing it on Broadway when I was nine! We get to practice with the whole cast of kids at bootcamp which has been fun.

Young cast of Matilda The Musical learn dance theory
Dance theory forms part of Matilda bootcamp (Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Emma: Acting is what we love to do! It does take a lot of practice, hard work, and determination, but when it comes together it’s all worth it.

Matilda Bootcamp in action
The young cast get to know each other at Matilda Bootcamp (Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Bham Now: There’s a song in Matilda called “When I Grow Up”, where the kids imagine what it’s like to be an adult and sing about what they’re looking forward to most. What do you look forward to most about growing up?

Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen
Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen – Matilda  (Photos via RMTC)

Ramsey: I really want to drive! I stress my Mom out so much when she has to take me to so many auditions, rehearsals, and performances!

Emma: I want to do more acting, professionally. That would be amazing!

Ramsey: Me too! It would be great if I could act as a job!

Emma: But definitely driving as well!

Ramsey: Right! And making our own decisions, which you have to do all the time when you grow up. It’s going to be scary, but doing things like this Bootcamp is really preparing us for general growing up as well as the show.

Bham Now: You’re sharing the role of Matilda. What do you enjoy most about the character?

Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen discuss sharing the role of Matilda
Ramsey and Emma can’t wait to share the role of Matilda (Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now)

Emma:  That’s right. There’s lots of shows so we’ll be alternating. I think Matilda is hilarious! She’s so fun to play and has lots of fun scenes, but also I love how she overcomes all the obstacles in her life and how she cares about all the people around her.

Ramsey: She’s inspiring. She’s only five and to think somebody could be that smart, that courageous , brave and optimistic. We know that she’s scared and not having the best life at home, but she still makes it through everything. It’s an inspirational part.

Bham Now: We can’t wait for the show! Why should people come to see Matilda The Musical?

Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen discuss Matilda The Musical
Ramsey Whitney and Emma Sonnichsen promise fun, laughs and magic at Matilda the Musical! (Photo by Kyndall Stoker for Bham Now)

Ramsey: It’s gonna be so much fun! It’s going to be so funny, you need to come and laugh.  Oh, and the magic tricks are great!

Emma: It’s hilarious. Michael Flowers, our director, has put together some amazing props and costumes. The set that we are using is stunning! It’s a really kid- friendly show, but adults will like it too. It follows the book well. 

See Ramsey, Emma and the talented cast from Red Mountain Theater Company in Matilda The Musical.  Get your tickets now!

The two act, 24 song, Matilda the Musical will feature at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater  July 12  to Aug 4, 2019, located at 800 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203.

Showtimes are: Wed. – Sat. at 7.30pm and Wed., Thurs.,Sat., and Sun. At 2pm. Tickets start at $20.

Purchase your tickets now (Remember Use discount code Matilda7 to save $7.00-Price Level 1 or 2 tickets)! Limited seats. Child ticket prices are also available.

Poster of Matilda the Musical Sensory Friendly
Sensory-Friendly performance: Tuesday, July 16 at 2.00pm 

Purchase your tickets for the sensory-friendly performance now (Remember Use discount code Matilda7 to save $7.00 on price level 1 or 2)! Limited seats. Child ticket prices are also available. 

RELATED: Popular Birmingham director Michael Flowers brings Roald Dahl’s beloved Matilda the Musical to life, opening on July 12

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Author: Jon Eastwood

Originally from Wales (UK) and a fluent Welsh speaker. Longtime sustainability and recycling champion. Former county recycling manager in the UK. Career highlights include introducing innovative recycling systems and achieving a point where households throw out trash just once a month. Competed in international coastal rowing championships and followed Wales throughout Europe in their Rugby and Soccer endeavours.