“Matilda the Musical,” the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name, starts previews at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre on March 4, 2013. The Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers partnered to produce “Matilda” on Broadway. The show will officially open on April 11, 2013.
The musical had its world premiere at The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2012. For twelve weeks straight, “Matilda” sold out to audiences. London’s West End soon welcomed “Matilda the Musical” when it transferred to the Cambridge Theatre on October 25, 2011. The show still runs at the Cambridge Theatre today.
This American premiere is directed by Matthew Warchus. He won a Tony Award in 2009 for Best Direction of a Play for “God of Carnage.” Dennis Kelly wrote the book for the musical adaptation of “Matilda” and Tim Minchin composed the music and lyrics. Other members of the creative team include Peter Darling (choreography), Rob Howell (set and costume design), Hugh Vanstone (lighting), Simon Baker (sound and orchestrations), Christopher Nightingale (musical supervision).
The title role of Matilda will be played by a rotation of four young actresses. Further casting for the show has not yet been announced.
The story of “Matilda the Musical” centers on a girl with magical powers. She uses these powers to defy her neglectful parents and her wicked headmistress. Songs from the musical include “Miracle,” “My House,” and “When I Grow Up.”
In 1996, the film version of Matilda was released. The movie featured Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Mara Wilson.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times believes this musical explores many themes pertinent to current society. He writes, “…’Matilda’ addresses many of the national worries that dominate the daily news here: an enfeebled and ineffective education system, corrupt business practices, abuses of power, organized crime, the mind-rotting effects of bad television, the imperilment of public libraries and the popularity of those tacky dance competitions.”
The New York Times also stated, “…’Matilda’ is a sweet and sharp-witted work of translation, which — like its story-spinning title character — turns dark and sodden anxieties into bright and buoyant fantasies.”
The Guardian said, “It’s hard to imagine a show capturing the spirit of Roald Dahl’s literary world more perfectly than this one.” The review continued, “You’d be a nitwit to miss this hit show.”
WhatsonStage heralded the show’s composer/playwright team. It stated, “Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics sparkle with wit and energy, demonstrating a touch of genius to rival that of the eponymous Matilda. Complemented by Dennis Kelly’s book, they make up a piece which is by turns riotously funny and gut-wrenchingly poignant…all brought vividly to life by Matthew Warchus’ masterful direction.”
In April of 2012, “Matilda the Musical” broke the record for winning the most Olivier Awards. The production received seven Olivier awards including Best Musical. For more information visit the musical’s official website.