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Matilda: Meet Mr. Wormwood & Mrs. Wormwood

We're continuing our series of interviews with the main characters of Matilda the Musical with the couple you love to hate - Mr. & Mrs. Wormwood. In our production, these two talented performers also play the Escapologist and Acrobat. Read on to learn more about how they each bring their dynamic characters to life.

Our mainstage production of Matilda opens on Friday, July 14, 2023.

Blake Kelley (Mr. Wormwood/Escapologist)

Training in dance most of his life, by the age of 17, Blake was touring with LA Dance Magic, and dancing in cities like LA, Detroit, Phoenix, Dallas, and Orlando. Blake has been performing professionally since he was 12, and as an adult, he worked for Disney Cruise Line for four years and then performed at Walt Disney World on the Magic Kingdom castle stage! You might have seen him on stage at Stageworks doing The Addams Family and Holiday Follies, along with his amazing choreography for Urinetown! Blake is so excited to bring his first ever leading role to life through Mr. Wormwood!

Welcome to Stageworks! Is this your first time on the main stage? How long have you been performing and what have been some of your favorite roles?

I've been professionally performing for at least 18 years! I don't really have a favorite role I've done, per se, but one of my absolute favorite things I've ever done as a performer has been working for Disney, portraying many of our Disney friends.

What enticed you to audition for Matilda?

I've been lucky to perform a lot with Stageworks this past year and I love this theater and the people in it. I've been working really hard on expanding my versatility as a performer, particularly my vocals, and this show was the perfect opportunity to work on that live on stage. It also helped that my wife could potentially be doing the show too!

Tell us about your character in Matilda.

I play two very different men in this show! They are polar opposites of each other - Harry Wormwood is a self-centered, eccentric, sleazy businessman whose only goal in life is to get rich quick, regardless of who he cheats, or in Matilda's case, hurts or neglects.

Magnus, more popularly known as The Escapologist, is a kind, gentle, caring husband and father who only wants what is best for his daughter.

How are you like/NOT like your character?

It's been much easier to step into Magnus's shoes, as I strive to be the most loving, nurturing, supportive husband I can be towards my wife, Cassandra, who plays the wives of both my characters on stage!

Harry, on the other hand, is challenging because he is the opposite of everything I strive to be in my personal life.

When you’re not onstage, how do you spend your time?

I'm actively working on multiple projects, actually! I teach private dance lessons, I run my art business with my wife, I love DnD, the outdoors, reading, cooking, and cuddling with my cats!

What’s the best thing about Stageworks?

It's a very welcoming environment. Especially since we've only been around at Stageworks for a less than a year, they've really opened their arms to us and encouraged us to grow as performers, artists, creators, educators, as a couple, as parents, and as people.

Cassandra Zepeda-Kelley (Mrs. Wormwood/Acrobat)

Cassandra has been doing theater her whole life and has performed for theaters like Palm Beach Dramaworks and the Arsht Center in Florida, among others, playing characters like Clara in The Light in the Piazza, Tuptim in The King and I, Belle in The Beauty and the Beast, and Eponine in Les Miserables. For her first professional show, she was in the Original Mexico cast of Les Miserables (which ran for over 200 performances), at only six years old. She attended Boston Conservatory, moved to NYC, and then worked for Disney Cruise Line for two years, performing live on stage as some of your favorite Disney Princesses and characters!

You might have seen her as Morticia in The Addams Family, as well as Holiday Follies at Stageworks!

She's thrilled to be bringing Mrs. Wormwood to life alongside her husband!

Welcome to Stageworks! I understand this is your first show here. How long have you been performing and what have been some of your favorite roles?

Thank you for having me again! I've been performing professionally for 23 years - I can't believe it's been that long!

I've been very lucky to play some incredible roles in my lifetime... my first professional role was young Cosette in the Original Mexico Cast of Les Miserables, produced by Cameron Mackintosh when I was six years old, and that was a core experience in my career. Later, I got to play Eponine as well!

I loved performing as a Mainstage vocalist for Disney Cruise Line, portraying some of the most beautiful Disney Princesses! I got to meet my husband on the ship too, which was, obviously, life-changing!

And I cannot forget my Stageworks debut as the gorgeously dark Morticia Addams!

What enticed you to audition for Matilda?

Well, firstly, I adore Stageworks and the people here! So I always love a chance to perform for the theater and this community!

Secondly, I was doing some research on the show and I listened to quite a few interviews with Tim Minchin, who wrote the music for the show, and I found the whole creation absolutely genius. This made me want to be a part of bringing this amazing story to life!


Tell us about your character in Matilda.

The direction for this show was so brilliant in the fact that I get to play two characters throughout the show - I portray two very different women in this story.

Mrs. Wormwood is very vain, selfish, obnoxious, tacky, neglectful of her children, has a very toxic relationship with her husband, and is a quite clueless... not the sharpest tool in the shed...

The Acrobat, whom we've lovingly named Beatrice (some behind-the-scenes lore for ya!) is loving, kind, devoted, sweet, loves her husband very much, and loves her child even before she's born.

Bouncing back and forth between these two women is incredibly fun and exciting. A plus is that I get to dance with my husband (who plays Mr. Wormwood and The Escapologist) quite a bit this show!

How are you like/NOT like your character?

Though I don't relate at all to Mrs. Wormwood, bringing her to life has been a very fun challenge for me! She's my first comedic character of this kind, so taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone has been very rewarding as a performer!

I do relate more to The Acrobat, as I strive to be a kind, compassionate, and loving person, and my husband and family are my whole world.

A fun likeness that I have to both my characters is that they are both pregnant at some point in the show, and my husband, Blake, and I are currently expecting our first baby!

When you’re not onstage, how do you spend your time?

When I'm not on stage, I'm probably still singing in some capacity! I run my art business with my husband where I get to paint, which is one of my absolute favorite things in the world! I also teach vocal lessons and run the mainstage side of the social media platforms for Stageworks. I love spending time with my husband and my family, reading and educating myself, and connecting with nature. I'm a bit of a workaholic, and right now, I'm preparing to become a mom!

What’s the best thing about Stageworks?

The people and the community! This theater was truly life-saving for me, especially coming out of the pandemic and being able to not only perform again, but do so in such a wonderful environment, with such fantastic people - it's been truly magical.

Come see the Wormwoods, the Escapologist, and the Acrobat create the world of Matilda at Stageworks Theatre, opening July 14, 2023.

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