For child star Frenie Acoba, it’s hello 2017, goodbye ‘Matilda’
Fifteen-year-old singer-actress Frenie Acoba ushered in the new year by saying goodbye to “Matilda the Musical” and the role of Lavender she has played for more than three years.
“I am beyond grateful for being a part of this wonderful show,” Frenie wrote on her Facebook page.
The musical, based on Roald Dahl’s story of a super intelligent six-year-old girl with special powers, ended on January 1, 2017. It opened on April 11, 2013 at the Shubert Theatre on West 44th Street, and ran more than 1,500 performances.
Frenie played Matilda’s best friend Lavender, an ensemble role that merited the attention of theater blog Reviews Off Broadway. “Young Frenie Acoba, playing background child Lavender, is a delight.”
Days before “Matilda” officially ended, Frenie has been blogging about the production’s impending closure.
“’Matilda’ changed my life. It taught me so many life lessons and every single day I was inspired by different people,” she wrote. “Getting to know so many brilliant people and having the honor of working alongside them was just a dream come true. Spending eight shows a week with all these amazing people formed a family that will never be forgotten.”
After “Matilda,” the New York-born Frenie said, “ I had become a much stronger, wiser and more fearless person and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.” The show “will remain in the hearts of everyone, always.”
In announcing the final run, she wrote: “Matilda closes on Broadway today… I am so thankful to have been a part of this wonderful show and to have worked with amazing people. You guys have become my family. Thank you for giving me the best opportunity I can ask for. I am filled with gratitude.”
Frenie began rehearsals for the production in 2012, fresh from the national tour of the revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “South Pacific.” “Matilda” is her Broadway debut. She is a member of Actor’s Equity.
In Roald Dahl’s book, Lavender is depicted as an African American girl who has thick hair in braids and wears big, round eyeglasses. Frenie wears her long, black hair straight sometimes with a ribbon on one side. In the novel as well as the musical, Lavender and Matilda team up to play mischief on the surly disciplinarian headmistress Miss Trunchbull using to their advantage Matilda’s psychokinetic powers where she has the ability to move objects without touching them.
Frenie goes to Kings Park High School on Long Island where her favorite subjects are Science and Art. She is one of two children of Willy and Nieva Acoba, who say they have a talented daughter. At eight, she sang the National Anthem at the U.S. Open. She has a younger brother.
She told Broadway.com she does not watch television, and wanted to “travel around the world” when she grows up. She appears to be an ardent fan of Beyonce, but not of Donald Trump tweeting after the election: #Notmypresident.
“Matilda” will go on a national tour beginning January 17.