London's West End will soon be home to Roald Dahl's Matilda, the beloved children's tale. The story has been adapted into a musical written by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Originally seen at the Courtyard Theater in Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, "Matilda the Musical" will open for previews October 18 at the Cambridge Theater and begin its official run November 22.
"Matilda the Musical" might seem an odd concept in theory. In fact, the recent struggles of "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark", prove that adapting established media into the musical form is not an exact science. Having a rock star composer doesn't necessarily equal success. "Matilda" has at least one major trump card, however, which is its Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production. The fresh minds of Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelley will also prove important in helping to bring the genre to younger audiences.
The musical is meant to be based on Dahl's book rather than the movie, and it will be interesting to see how and what Minchin elaborates of the original text. Early reviews from its run in Stratford-upon-Avon have been positive. One critic for the Telegraph declared the musical a triumph and hailed it as the next "Billy Elliot". In fact, there are many parallels between the two stories. Both deal with young children who are outsiders in their family and find refuge in an activity: for Billy, dancing, and for Matilda, reading. The children, who act as moral centers for those around them, are played by three different actors in both musicals. If "Matilda" does end up being the next "Billy Elliot", the production could jump across the pond in 2012 or 2013. With a telekinetic main character, even a Tony might be possible.
View the sneak peek trailers of the production and songs below.