First-Time Tony Nominee: Gabriel Ebert charms as the terrible Mr. Wormwood in ‘Matilda’

Gabriel Ebert.

Gabriel Ebert.

Gabriel Ebert’s portrayal of Mr. Wormwood in Matilda is straight out of Roald Dahl’s illustrations. His eccentric plaid suits obviously enhance the character’s cartoonish ways but Ebert’s physicality is striking. His long and lanky limbs may be a far cry from the image of Danny DeVito (in the 1996 movie), but are far more representative of Dahl’s storytelling. From a haughty swag to an imposing stance, Ebert has mastered the movement of his character, marrying over-the-top humor with a twinge of cartoonish evil.

Although Ebert is relatively unknown, he hails from Juliard with a couple of Broadway credits (Brief Encounter and Red), off-Broadway productions of Suicide, Incorporated and 4000 Miles (for which he received an Obie Award) and various interesting regional work to his name. But it is safe to say that his break has finally come!

Oona Laurence in Matilda at the Sam S Shubert theatre

Gabriel Ebert as Mr. Wormwood berating Matilda for reading books

His on-point comedic timing, impressive vocal talent and memorable onstage presence certainly make for a wonderful performance deserving of recognition, but his placement up against The Mystery of Edwin Drood star Will Chase is cause for concern. Ebert stands a fighting chance but may lose out to his other talented peers.

Regardless of whether or not he wins, Ebert’s name is now on the tongues of musical theatre fans across the country and Matilda certainly won’t be the last we see of him.

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