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Meet Notre Dame Academy’s ‘Matilda’

Submitted by Notre Dame Academy

GREEN BAY – Maddy Burgess could easily get lost in the shuffle of 785 students at Notre Dame Academy.

She is among the smallest in the senior class and at first glance might be mistaken for a middle-schooler.

However, Burgess will be in the spotlight playing the lead role in Notre Dame’s presentation of “Matilda The Musical” Jan. 23-26.

Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers, which fits Burgess well.

“That’s definitely one of the things I love about the role,” she said. “Matilda has the confidence to put it aside, and she doesn’t care if she’s small or younger than anyone. Her intelligence is so big that doesn’t even matter to her. For me, I’ve always struggled with (size) because I’m 4’10 and a senior in high school. I’ve always been the shortest one in my class and all that stuff, so I think this role is helping me, too, in a way I really didn’t realize because it’s helping me build my confidence.”

Though she doesn’t possess the psychokinetic powers her character uses to overcome cruel parents and a mean headmistress at school, Burgess has a lot of super qualities that would be difficult to overlook.

The National Honor Society member is president of the French Club, an accomplished pianist and adept snowboarder, who spent part of her winter break scaling slopes in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

After dealing with the stigma of being the small kid in class, the greatest strength Burgess developed is being a kind and understanding person.

“She is one of those friends that is always there for you and will always put a smile on your face when you’re not doing well,” said Notre Dame senior Bella Brabazon, who plays the part of a doctor and big kid in the musical.

Burgess’ likeness to the Matilda character made her a natural fit.

But it was her booming voice that ultimately earned her the role.

“She has a big voice, which is totally unexpected,” said Notre Dame senior Tommy Tressler, who plays the supporting role of Sergei. “She used to be a little more shy about her voice. But when she would sing, it was like, ‘That’s coming out of you?’”

Burgess has always enjoyed musical theater, dating back to the numerous trips to the Appleton Performing Arts Center for shows she would attend with her mother and older sister.

She got involved with performances at Notre Dame of De Pere in middle school.

After playing supporting roles as a sophomore and junior, Burgess landed the biggest role of her life.

“No matter what, she is always determined and motivated to tackle anything that gets put in front of her, and she does it with a really good attitude,” said Andrea Gilson, school musical theatrical director.

Burgess credits her positive outlook to her parents, Kate and Tom.

She wants to follow in their footsteps as entrepreneurs and plans to pursue a business degree at Elon University, which is located in North Carolina.

Her immediate goal, though, is to put on strong performances in the school musical.

Burgess said she is proud of the hard work the entire cast, pit band and stage crew have put in to be the first high school in Northeastern Wisconsin to present “Matilda The Musical.”

Tickets can be purchased online at showtix4u.com/event-details/35778.

“I think a lot of different people can relate to the musical,” Burgess said. “If you’re a parent or student, there are a lot of things that are relatable in this musical.”

For more information, visit notredameacademy.com/students/matilda-the-musical.

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