MATILDA - THE MUSICAL:
Opened: Broadway, April 11, 2013
Matilda Music & Lyrics By: Tim Minchin
Matilda Book By: Dennis Kelly
Broadway Theatre: Shubert Theatre
Tony Award Nominations: 12
Tony Awards Won: 4
Notes: Based on the book by Roald Dahl, who also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The novel Matilda isn't the best known of Roland Dahl's works, that honor falls to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is the subject of two adaptions. A 1996 film starring Danny DeVito did poorly on release but ended up being a cult classic. While the film "Americanized" a number of plot points, the 2010 musical adaption by the Royal Shakespeare Company had no such issues.
The Royal Shakespeare Company brought in Dennis Kelly to write the book and noted musical comedian Tim Minchin to craft the music. The show previewed at the Courtyard Theatre before moving to the Cambridge Theatre for a West End debut. The London production received glowing reviews and went on to win 7 Olivier Awards, among them Best Musical.
The musical tells the tale of Matilda Wormwood, a special girl who is born to a pair of neglectful, if not outright hostile parents. She displays advanced intelligence at an early age, but her situation only worsens when she is sent to school. The headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, supplies more than mere hostility. Miss Trunchbull is a vicious disciplinarian who firmly believes in the school motto: Bambinatum est Maggitum.
Matilda meets Miss Honey, a sympathetic teacher who sees the girl's talents and tries to convince her parents to allow her to attend more advanced classes. They remain dismissive of Matilda's gifts, and her situation only worsens.
Matilda's later discovers her mental talents are not limited to advanced intelligence. A prank on Miss Trunchbull results in a confrontation between the two where Matilda discovers a special ability she uses to help even the score. Afterwards, Miss Honey reveals her connection to Miss Trunchbull.
Matilda and her classmates have a final showdown with the headmistresses, where her gifts result in Miss Trunchbull departing the school for good and leaving the children in the care of Miss Honey.
Matilda The Musical opened on Broadway in April of 2013. Rumors the show, like the film before it, would be retooled to be set in America proved false. The Broadway production of the musical underwent only minor changes from the original version playing in the West End. Some of the West End cast joined the Broadway production when it premiered.
The Broadway production earned similarly glowing critical attention. It earned 11 Tony nominations, winning in 4 categories, including Best Book of a Musical. It took home Best Musical from the Drama Desk Awards, along with four others. The family friendly show proved to be a big success on Broadway.
The production at the Shubert Theatre in New York likely has a long run ahead of it. For those unable to make it to Broadway, touring productions will bring the show to cities around the world. Don't miss your chance to see this award winning musical when it visits a city near you.