Show History

History

Inspiration

Matilda The Musical, with a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, is based on the Road Dahl book Matilda.  A children's novel published in 1988, it became notable in years thereafter for a film adaptation in 1996 starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman.  The Royal Shakespeare Company had a desire to bring Dahl's work to the stage in 2009.  They reached out to Kelly, a writer for film and television, and Minchin, a comedian and musician, to work on the show, and then began to assemble the creative team.

Productions

Matilda premiered at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England on December 9, 2010.  After a limited engagement of a month and a half, the musical went to the West End at the Cambridge Theatre.  It was set to begin in mid-October, but heavy construction on the theatre pushed the opening back to November 24, 2011.  The Stratford cast nearly uniformly transferred to the West End, though only one of the young actresses playing Matilda stayed on.

The RSC, who were responsible for the original production, made the decision to bring the show across the pond to Broadway.  It opened on April 11, 2013 at the Shubert Theatre, and featured only small changes to the material, despite some initial arguments to completely rework the show to make it more focused towards American audiences (the musical is set in England).  Bertie Carvel and Lauren Ward moved over with the show and reprised their roles as Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey, respectively.

Cultural Influence

  • With seven Olivier Awards won in 2012, Matilda holds the record of most Olivier Awards won by a show during a single year.
  • The West End cast of Matilda has performed at both the 100th "Royal Variety Performance" event on ITV and the event Children in Need.
  • The four young actresses who alternate the role of Matilda in the Broadway production won the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 2013.  They are the youngest recipients of the non-competitive award.

Trivia

  • The British productions of Matilda netted nominations for:  a British Composer Award  for Tim Minchin, a Whatsonstage.com Award in 2013 and 2014 for Best West End Show, and an Olivier Award in 2013 for Most Popular Show.  The Broadway production was nominated for eleven additional Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, and Best Choreography.  It also received Drama League Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding Musical.
  • Celebrities that have starred in Matilda (aside from those mentioned above) include:  Christopher Sieber (Miss Trunchbull), Adrianna Bertola (Matilda), Paul Kaye (Mr. Wormwood), Craig Bierko (Miss Trunchbull), Eleanor Worthington Cox (Matilda), Steve Furst (Mr. Wormwood), Lesli Margherita (Mrs. Wormwood), Kerry Ingram (Matilda), Taylor Trensch (Michael), Robert Madge (Reginald), and Jill Paice (Miss Honey).