2013 Tony Award® Winner Matilda the Musical Dramatizes Roald Dahl’s 1988 Children’s Book

Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will present Matilda the Musical on May 23-28 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Joan Marcus)
Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will present Matilda the Musical on May 23-28 in
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Joan Marcus)
Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will present <em>Matilda the Musical</em> on May 23-28 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Joan Marcus)
Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will present Matilda the Musical on May 23-28 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Joan Marcus)

On May 23-28, Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will jointly present eight performances of the four-time 2013 Tony Award® winner Matilda the Musical in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Matilda the Musical, which features music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a book by Dennis Kelly, is based on British author and screenwriter Roald Dahl’s perennially popular 1988 children’s book about Matilda Wormwood, a plucky five-year-old English girl from an abusive home. Matilda loves to read and demonstrates unusual intelligence — not to mention psychokinetic powers — which her self-absorbed parents overlook in their malign neglect of their precocious daughter.

Devouring book after book opens up brave new worlds for the unhappy child. According to Roald Dahl: “[Matilda Wormwood] went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Matthew Warchus, and choreographed by Peter Darling, Matilda the Musical had its world premiere in November 2010 in The Courtyard Theatre in The Immortal Bard’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, where it played until January 2011. The musical made its West End debut in October 2011 at the Cambridge Theatre. The still-running London production, which is now booking through December 2017, won a record seven 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards®, including Best New Musical.

The original Broadway production of Matilda the Musical, also directed by Matthew Warchus and choreographed by Peter Darling, made its debut on April 11, 2013 at the Shubert Theatre, where it racked up 1,554 performances before closing on Jan. 1, 2017. Nominated for the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical and 11 other Tonys, the show won four Tony Awards — for Best Book of a Musical (Dennis Kelly), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Rob Howell), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Hugh Vanstone), and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Gabriel Ebert as Mr. Wormwood), plus a 2013 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre and the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical.

Praise was unanimous. The New York Post raved, “Once in a blue moon, a show comes out blazing and restores your faith in Broadway. Matilda the Musical is that show.” The Wall Street Journal agreed, “The makers of Matilda have done the impossible — triumphantly! It is smart, sweet, zany and stupendous fun.”

Time magazine called Matilda the Musical “the best musical since The Lion King“; and the Chicago Tribune characterized the show as “the best family musical in years.”

“Welcome to the deliriously amusing, malevolent, heartwarming, head-spinning world of Matilda the Musical,” wrote Bloomberg News. “You won’t want to leave.”

Matilda the Musical’s current National Tour, which kicked off on May 16, 2015, is being produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers (Denise Wood and André Ptaszynski, executive producers); directed by Matthew Warchus; and choreographed by Peter Darling.

Three girls share the title role of Matilda on tour: Gabby Gutierrez, Jaime MacLean, and Jenna Weir; and Keisha T. Fraser plays Mrs. Phelps, the librarian at Matilda Wormwood’s school who befriends the precocious child and becomes her confidant. Jennifer Bowles portrays the sympathetic teacher Miss Honey; Dan Chameroy (in glorious drag) plays Matilda’s school’s horrid headmistress and former Olympic hammer-throwing champion Miss Trunchbull; Matt Harrington and Darcy Stewart co-star as Matilda’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood; and Darren Burkett appears as Matilda’s older brother, Michael Wormwood.

Other adult cast members include: Talia Cosentino as Hortensia, Justin Packard as The Escape Artist, and Eric Craig as Sergei. The adult ensemble includes Jacqueline Burtney, Stephen Diaz, Marisa Kennedy, gym captain and assistant dance captain Anthony MacPherson, Tyler McKenzie, Gray Monczka, and Kim Sava; and swings include Heidi Friese, dance captain Michael D Jablonski, children’s dance captain Brittany Nicholas, Liz Schmitz, and Brandon Stonestreet.

Child actors and actresses include: Isabella Stuebing as Amanda, Soren Thayne Miller as Bruce, Molly Richardson as Alice, Gregory Diaz IV as Tommy, Gabrielle Beredo as Lavender, Jim Kaplan as Eric, and Jacob Anderson as Nigel. Swings include Blake Ferrante and Abigail Nicholson.

Besides original West End and Broadway director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling, the creative team for the current National Tour includes associate director Thomas Caruso; associate choreographers Ellen Kane (worldwide) and Kate Dunn (U.S.); musical director David Holcenberg; associate musical supervisor David Holcenberg; musical coordinator Howard Joines; voice director Andrew Wade; children’s music director Deborah Abramson; set and costume designer Rob Howell; lighting designer Hugh Vanstone; sound designer Simon Baker; illusions designer Paul Kieve; associate set designer Paul Weimer; associate costume designer Daryl A. Stone; associate lighting designer Joel Shier; associate sound designer Tony Smolenski IV; Royal Shakespeare Company commissioning dramaturg Jeanie O’Hare; production stage manager Eric Insko; stage manager Sarah Testerman; and assistant stage manager Michelle Scalpone. The show also features technical supervision by Aurora Productions and additional music and musical supervision by Chris Nightingale.

Jenna Weir is one of three girls who play Matilda (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)
Matilda (Jenna Weir) is a precocious girl (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

SECOND OPINION: May 6th Raleigh, NC News & Observer mini-preview: http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article148659479.html.

Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre present MATILDA THE MUSICAL at 7:30 p.m. May 23-26 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 27 and 28 in in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $25.15-$104.15, except $20 tickets for college students with ID.


Duke Energy Center Box Office (information only): 919-996-8700 or info@dukeenergycenterraleigh.com.

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1601714.

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-996-8707, group@raleighconvention.com, or http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south/group-sales.

SHOW: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/event/matilda-7186, http://nctheatre.com/shows/matilda%20, and https://www.facebook.com/events/1067166763370526/.

THE TOUR: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/, http://www.ibdb.com/Production/View/500688, https://www.facebook.com/MatildaOnBroadway, https://twitter.com/MatildaBroadway, and http://www.youtube.com/user/MatildaBroadway.

TOUR CAST: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/cast-creative/cast/.

TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/cast-creative/creative/.

VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfKvdZuzpN0, http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/media/video/, http://us.matildathemusical.com/video/, and http://www.youtube.com/user/MatildaBroadway.

AUDIO PREVIEWS: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/media/audio/.


Broadway Series South: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south, https://www.facebook.com/broadwayseriessouthraleigh, and https://twitter.com/BroadwaySouth.

2017-18 BSS SEASON: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south.

North Carolina Theatre: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.

2016-17 NCT SEASON: http://nctheatre.com/show-season/201516-season.

NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.

VENUE: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/venue/memorial-auditorium.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/directions.

PARKING: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/parking.

NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, May 27th, performance.


Matilda (1988 children’s book): http://www.roalddahl.com/roald-dahl/stories/1980s/matilda (official web page) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_%28novel%29 (Wikipedia).

The Novel (excerpt): http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Study Guide: http://www.tonyawards.com/pdf/Matilda_LessonPlans_lo.pdf (Penguin’s Classroom Classics).

Roald Dahl (British writer and screenwriter, 1916-90): https://www.roalddahl.com/ (official website), http://us.matildathemusical.com/creative/roald-dahl/ (tour bio), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/8343 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001094/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl (Wikipedia).

Matilda the Musical (2010 Stratford-upon-Avon, 2011 West End, and 2013 Broadway): http://www.matildathemusical.com/ (official website), http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/ (U.S. your website), http://uk.matildathemusical.com/ (West End website), http://www.timminchin.com/matilda/ (Tim Minchin’s web page), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/matilda-the-musical-493193 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001094/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_the_Musical (Wikipedia).

Study Guide: http://matildaschoolresources.com/cdn/pdfs/Matilda-Education-Production-Pack.pdf?019271238 (West End production).

Tim Minchin (music and lyrics): http://www.timminchin.com/ (official website), http://us.matildathemusical.com/creative/tim-minchin/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/tim-minchin-493197 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2423358/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Minchin (Wikipedia).

Dennis Kelly (book): http://us.matildathemusical.com/creative/dennis-kelly/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/dennis-kelly-73661 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2393111/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Kelly (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).