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Local Student Stars in Walnut Street Theatre's “Matilda The Musical”



Ursuline Academy fifth grader JoJo Schlecht plays Matilda’s pal Lavender in Walnut Street Theatre’s production of “Matilda.”// Photo courtesy of Mark Garvin


“Matilda,” Roald Dahl’s cherished novel about a courageous little girl with an unbounded imagination, is running on Walnut Street Theatre’s mainstage until January 6. Matilda’s best buddy, Lavender, is played by JoJo Schlecht, a fifth grade student at Ursuline Academy. We spoke with Schlecht about her budding acting career, how she relates to her character and what she likes to do in her free time.

JoJo Schlecht.// photo courtesy of Mark Garvin

Is this your first major role in the theater?

I’ve done a bunch of community theatre shows, but yes, this is my first big professional production.

What was the audition process like?

I submitted my headshot and resume and was called in to audition. I sang a song, “What it Means to be a Friend,” which was followed by a dance call back and another singing audition.

How do you learn your lines?

We got the script a week before the first rehearsal so I ran my lines with my parents. We had three weeks of practice, sometimes that were seven hours but most of them were in the afternoons from 3-7 p.m.

How do you relate to Lavender?

In the beginning she’s a little scared but her personality is a little crazy and outgoing.

What is the message behind “Matilda” that you think people young and old can relate to?

If you are being bullied don’t wait for something to happen. You need to fight for yourself.

Do you have any other roles/auditions coming up?

I’m going to be in “School House Rock” as part of Aldersgate Youth Players. I will be playing the role of Becky Sue.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to hang out with my school friends. I also play the violin and draw.

Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 210th season with Roald Dahl’s “Matilda The Musical.” Directed by Linda Goodrich, with choreography by Michelle Gaudette, the show runs through Jan. 6 on the Walnut’s mainstage.

For tickets and information, call (215) 574-3550 or (800) 982-2787. Tickets are also available online by visiting their website or Ticketmaster. â€‹Prices vary by performance, and range from $25 – $97

Walnut Street Theatre​ • 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia