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  • Pamela Froman

Matilda, the Musical

Matilda, the Musical is the inspiring story of a precocious little girl based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel. Matilda – our courageous heroine – has an unbounded imagination and proves that despite the odds, you can do anything you put your mind to – and change your destiny. The musical was adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Matilda has received widespread critical acclaim and box-office popularity, winning seven 2012 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. At the 2013 Tony Awards, the show won five awards, including the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.


Matilda is a spunky 5-year-old little girl with the gift of telekinesis, who loves reading and has to overcome obstacles caused by her family and school, and who then helps her teacher, Miss Honey, to reclaim her life. Delilah Shafer plays Matilda, and she charms the audience with her acting and performance. Samantha Winters plays Miss Honey and she puts on a sweet and tender performance that allows us as the audience to like and sympathize with her. She is kind to Matilda, and we root for her.


The story starts like this: The ballroom dancing-obsessed Mrs. Wormwood (hilariously played by Mary Zastrow) gives birth to a baby girl – Matilda. Unconcerned with her child, Mrs. Wormwood is only worried about a dancing contest she has missed. Similarly shallow, Mr. Wormwood (played by Scott Gilbert) is a used-car salesman who dismisses Matilda and hilariously and consistently calls her "Boy." Matilda is a genius and very unhappy with her family.


Matilda can be very naughty – as expressed in the song "Naughty" – where she adds her mother's hydrogen peroxide to her father's hair oil, leaving Mr. Wormwood with bright green hair. Similarly, at another point, she puts superglue around the rim of her father's hat and fixes it to his head.


Matilda likes to tell stories, and at the local library, she tells the librarian, Mrs. Phelps (played by Sara Owinyo) about a world-famous acrobat and escapologist couple and their adventures. This story becomes more important than we realize!


At Matilda's school, headmistress Miss Trunchbull (acted with comedic genius by Ryan Gesell) rules the children with an iron fist and also abuses Miss Honey. The children sing about their hopes for the future with the song "When I Grow Up."


Miss Honey tells Matilda of her cruel and abusive aunt who has forced her to sign a contract binding her to pay back all the expenses incurred when she was a child. Miss Honey finds refuge in an old farm shed where she still finds beauty in her living conditions. She expresses that in the song "My House." When Miss Honey tells her story, we realize it is the story of the acrobat and the escapologist – and the wicked aunt is Miss Trunchbull!


In the song "Chalk Writing" Matilda uses her powers of telekinesis. She writes on the blackboard to convince Miss Trunchbull that it is the ghost of Miss Honey's father, and demands that she give his daughter back her house or he will haunt her forever. Miss Honey's parents' will is then found, and they have left all their money and their house to her.


Concurrently, the Russian Mafia is out to get the Wormwoods because they tried to cheat them. But Matilda charms the gangsters and they agree to let the family escape without repayment. Because of this, Matilda's father allows her to come and live with Miss Honey.


Everyone lives happily ever after!


Children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by this Broadway hit. Matilda, the Musical runs Nov. 2 – Dec. 8 at The Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave. in Simi Valley. Tickets are $28 Adults, $24 Seniors & Students, and $20 Children 12 & Under. For tickets and information call the box office at (805) 583-7905 or log onto www.simi-arts.org

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