Injured Craig Bierko Officially Departs Broadway's Matilda The Musical

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19 Nov 2013

Craig Bierko
Craig Bierko
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Actor Craig Bierko (The Music Man, Thou Shalt Not, Guys and Dolls), who had taken a temporary medical leave of absence from the Broadway production of Matilda the Musical, has officially departed the new musical, producers announced Nov. 19.

Bierko, who succeeded Olivier Award winner and Tony nominee Bertie Carvel, was originally scheduled to begin performances as the evil school mistress Sept. 3. A shoulder injury during rehearsals delayed the start of his engagement to Sept. 17. The role, which requires the actor to perform a series of gymnastic routines in the second act, aggravated Bierko's injury, and prompted Bierko to take a 12-week disability leave in early October.

"Regrettably, due to medical circumstances beyond his control, Craig Bierko will not be resuming his role as Miss Trunchbull," representatives for the production said in a statement. "Craig informed production that his injuries have made it necessary to withdraw from Matilda. With regrets, the producers have accepted that he will not return to the show in January."

"Trunchbull is a physically demanding role; and while I tried to perform, despite my injuries, the speed with which I am healing is not fast enough to resume performances in the near future," Bierko said in a statement. "I am extremely disappointed that I will be unable to return to Matilda. I'm deeply grateful to the producers, cast and crew for their warmth and support."

Bierko played 20 performances in Matilda. Chris Hoch, who understudies the role of Trunchbull, was given a contract to play the evil headmistress for the duration of Bierko's originally scheduled absence into January.



A replacement for the role of Miss Trunchbull has not been announced.

Tony Award-winning director Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage, The Norman Conquests, Boeing-Boeing, La Bête, Ghost) staged the inventive, kid-packed musical that has a book by Dennis Kelly and a score by Tim Minchin. It opened on Broadway April 11.

Matilda received four Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical, Best Featured Actor (Gabriel Ebert), Best Lighting Design and Best Scenic Design. 

The U.K. hit premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Courtyard Theatre in November 2010 and later transferred to the West End's Cambridge Theatre, where it continues to run.  The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers present the Broadway run.

The Broadway cast also stars young Tony Award-honored actresses Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro, who share the title role. 

Read critics reviews of Matilda here.

The Broadway principal company also features Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (Zorro; Kiss, Me Kate) as Miss Wormwood, Tony winner Gabriel Ebert (4000 Miles) as Mr. Wormwood, Jill Paice (Curtains, The Woman in White) as Miss Honey and veteran Chicago actress Karen Aldridge ("Boss," "Chicago Fire") as Mrs. Phelps. Young British actor Ted Wilson from the original London cast of Matilda repeats his work as schoolmate Eric in the Broadway production.

The Matilda ensemble includes Frenie Acoba, Erica Barnett, Judah Bellamy, Jack Broderick, Ava DeMary, John Arthur Greene, Emma Howard, Nadine Isenegger, Colin Israel, Thayne Jasperson, Luke Mannikus, Madilyn Morrow, Sawyer Nunes, Jared Parker, Celia Mei Rubin, John Sanders, Tamika Sonja Lawrence, Phillip Spaeth, Ryan Steele, Betsy Struxness, Samantha Sturm, Heather Tepe, Ben Thompson, Clay Thomson, Taylor Trensch and Beatrice Tulchin.

According to producers, Matilda "is the story of an extraordinary little girl who decides that despite a bad beginning filled with rotten parents, a terrifying school and a vicious head mistress, her story is going to be an astonishing one. With the help of her teacher, her friends and a little bit of imagination, Matilda proves that even if you're little, you can do big things."

The production has set and costume design by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting design by Hugh Vanstone and sound design by Simon Baker. 

For tickets go to Telecharge.com. The Shubert Theatre is located at 235 West 44th Street.

Visit MatildaTheMusical.com.

Check out Playbill.com's highlights from Matilda: