Judson Cloudt was portraying a school boy in the Omaha Community Playhouse's (OCP) production of “A Christmas Carol” when he asked his parents if he could audition for “Matilda the Musical” at The Rose Theater.
The other children in the show were auditioning. By the time Judson's mom, Nicole, signed him up, there was only one spot left.
But the 10-year-old made the most of it. Only he and one other girl, Maddie Smith, were cast in the show. Maddie plays Matilda, while Judson is Nigel, one of Matilda's eight classmates.
“His dad is a doctor so he is scared of a lot of things,” Judson said of his character.
“Matilda the Musical” opens at 7 p.m. Friday at The Rose Theater. Shows are also at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It runs through June 30.
Matilda is an exceptional child with an extraordinary imagination who learns to claim her destiny, according to a fact sheet about the show. A brilliant girl born into a … less brilliant family, Matilda gets sent away to school at the terrible Crunchem Hall, which is led by the mean former hammer-throwing champion Miss Trunchbull. Armed with good friends and a mentor named Miss Honey, Matilda starts a revolution to help herself and others “change their story.”
“Some of it is funny. Some of it is serious and some of it is just different,” Judson said of the show.
Judson, who just finished fourth grade at Arbor Park Intermediate School, and his castmates have endured long rehearsals to prepare for the show, but it's something Judson loves to do. His first acting role was a boy with a sled in “A Christmas Carol” at OCP in 2016.
At first Judson's parents, Jason and Nicole Cloudt of Kennard, were hesitant to allow him to audition due to the time commitment and the commute.
“But it was obviously something that he wanted to pursue and I think that for kids to find that passion for something that they love to do at this young of an age, how could you not support him,” Nicole said. “It's really given him a voice to inspire other people on the stage.”
Judson has acted in “A Christmas Carol” for the last three years. He's also been in OCP productions of “Shrek” and “Beauty and the Beast,” playing Baby Bear and a pepper shaker, respectively.
The opportunity has allowed Judson to build relationships with a group of kids who are in the shows.
“They're just friends. They're from all over, they're never from the same schools or anything. They've just formed this little group and they provide support for each other because it's such a different activity,” Nicole said. “It's not like you're going with one of your classmates or that sort of thing. It's really a great opportunity to make relationships and friendships with people outside of Blair. It's been very positive.”