Warchus Goes Waltzing With "Matilda"

PlayBlog   Warchus Goes Waltzing With "Matilda"
While fans of Leslie Bricusse score of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" wait for a Broadway adaptation of that classic 1971 film (no, nothing has been announced, but we can dream, can't we?), news has surfaced that 2009 Tony Award-winning director Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage) is to direct a musical based on another kids' book by the late "Chocolate Factory" writer Roald Dahl — "Matilda."

[caption id="attachment_267" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Roald Dahl's "Matilda" illustration by Quentin Blake"]Roald Dahl's [/caption]

The New York Times reports that the 1988 book about a girl genius is being developed, and that some songs have already been written. The Times said the musical will have some new characters and "a new device" that will connect the story's episodes together. It's not yet clear yet who is writing the libretto and score.

According to RoaldDahl.com, "Matilda is an exceptionally bright young girl with an insatiable appetite for books and reading. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, think she's just a nuisance. Matilda thinks, rightly, that all they are interested in is watching TV and making money by cheating people. She decides to punish them. She soon discovers that she has supernatural powers which are not only going to prove useful at home but also at Crunchem Hall School where Matilda and her classmates must contend with the scariest headmistress of them all — Miss Trunchbull."

"Matilda" was the biggest seller among Roald Dahl's books for children. Jeremy Treglown noted in his biography of Dahl, "No book of Dahl's ever sold so fast. In Britain alone, half a million paperback copies went across the counter within six months."

The movie version, released in 1996 and directed by Danny DeVito and starring Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Mara Wilson and Pam Ferris was a hit.

Theatrical musical fantasy is not new for Warchus; he staged The Lord of the Rings in Toronto and London. Will "Matilda" be a golden ticket to a new kid-friendly chapter in the director's career? — Kenneth Jones

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