Tony award winning MATILDA THE MUSICAL, based off the popular Roald Dahl book started its magical run in San Jose as part of Broadway San Jose’s 2017 season. MATILDA THE MUSICAL is a dark, touching and often comical story of a brilliant girl who discovers magical powers that forever change the course of life for herself and many of the others around her.
Young Matilda’s home life is miserable. Her mother, the self-centered Mrs. Wormwood (Darcy Stewart), her moronic older brother and her sleazy used car salesman father (a very funny Matt Harrington) are concerned with nothing more than television and earning a quick buck. They feel there is something truly wrong with their bookworm daughter and cannot wait to be rid of her once she is old enough to start school.
Matilda’s life takes a turn for the better when she starts school and meets her teacher, the lovely and earnest Miss Honey, played by Jennifer Bowles. Miss Honey quickly discovers how brilliant Matilda is and makes it her mission to help promote her education despite the resistance faced from Matilda’s parents and the evil, much feared school headmistress Miss Trunchbull. While the students fear Miss Trunchbull, we the viewers are treated to a very terrifying, but equally campy and hilarious performance by Dan Chameroy. There is always something about a man in drag that works so well in a Broadway show.
MATILDA THE MUSICAL brilliantly evokes the feel and spirit of the book, although not always true to the story. The sets are an inventive use of letters, blocks and words that evoke literary references, the spirit of school and the building blocks of education. The choreography is inspired, and makes creative use of the sets.
As inspired as the choreography and sets are, the real star of the show is Matilda herself (played this evening by Gabby Gutierrez) and the ensemble cast of children.
Children are the epitome of underdogs in a world ruled by cruel and dishonest adults. MATILDA THE MUSICAL is a story about rising up and triumphing in the face of the adults who try to hold you down. The children of MATILDA THE MUSICAL do that and more. From the very opening number, “Miracle” through to the end “Revolting Children”, the children of MATILDA absolutely steal the show. Never have I seen a more talented cast of children. Ever. Period. The execution of difficult choreography, the vocals and the sheer charisma of each person on stage makes MATILDA THE MUSICAL, an absolute joy to watch.
MATILDA THE MUSICAL is smart and sweet and has something to offer anyone watching. It is a child’s tale, but it really anyone interested in seeing the human spirit endure and overcome will fall in love with this show.
MATILDA plays now through Sunday, March, 12 at the Center for Performing Arts (255 Almaden Blvd.). Tickets for MATILDA are available now via www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-982-ARTS (2787)