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A photo of students walking in the hall at Notre Dame Academy

Meet NDA's 'Matilda'

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

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

However, Burgess is a big-time talent and 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. The part fits Burgess well.

"That's definitely one of the things I love about the role," Burgess 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."

Burgess is always ready for a challenge.

While 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 the 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 very 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 for the role. But it was her booming voice that ultimately earned her the part.

"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 theatre, 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, the theatrical director of Notre Dame's school musical.

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 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."

"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."

Tickets can be purchased online here.

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

About Notre Dame Academy: Notre Dame Academy is located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is a co-ed Catholic high school founded by the Norbertine Order, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Diocese of Green Bay. NDA’s distinctive history embraces the more than 120-year foundation of St. Joseph Academy, Abbot Pennings High School and Our Lady of Premontre High School. NDA offers a globally focused education with a leading IB Diploma Program. Its high-caliber educational community is focused on outstanding learning and creating a lifetime of opportunity for all students.