West End’s new darling crosses the pond in spring 2013 for a much-anticipated Broadway debut. The critically acclaimed and seven-time Olivier winning musical ‘Matilda’ will premiere at the Great White Way via the Shubert Theatre on April 11th with previews beginning March 4th.
To say that this musical is ‘adorable’ and ‘heartwarming’ is an understatement, in fact, it doesn’t do the musical any justice. Adapted from the 1988 Roald Dahl children’s book of the same name, ‘Matilda’ speaks volumes despite the size of its titular lead. The theatrical adaptation doesn’t dumb down the emotions and wits of a child that adults usually take for granted in real life (and apparently, also in this musical as Matilda’s parents have grown distant and even resentful to her); as the UK’s The Guardian writes, “The production has a razor-sharp tongue-in-cheek edge that cuts in at the slightest hint of sweetness. Yet seldom has the inner rage of the hurt and powerless child been so effectively dramatized.” ‘Matilda’ is not your average family-friendly or wholesome, seasonal production; it may be a colorful and jolly production that features more kids than adults in the cast (and may even remind you of the classic ‘Annie’) but it also mirrors the common and global plights that directly affect kids these days such as bullying (which manifests in all ages, thanks to Miss Trunchbull), the mental and behavioral effects of mass media and free and unbridled expressionism, and the corruption, political and economic distress which in turn affects the quality of education. More importantly, this musical – through the keen eyes, the highly powerful, profound and dynamic brains and revolting spirits of a five-year-old – teaches audiences a universal, timeless and different (but perhaps more effective) approach to today’s ever-apparent and ever-inevitable dismal times, and the New York Times couldn’t have summed it more flawlessly – “’Matilda’ celebrates the escape route of fiction,” and this little girl changes the harsh realities of the world – or her world, at least – through the paradoxical channel of make-believe.