Entertainment :: Music

Matilda - The Musical

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Oct 25, 2013
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The children’s stories of author Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990) have provided the perfect fodder for cinematic and stage-based source material both during and since the author’s lifetime. From classic adaptations of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (and it’s companion, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory") to animated and feature versions of "James and the Giant Peach," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox," Dahl’s macabre sense of storytelling have appealed to the warped sense of youth in everyone for more than three generations.

Now it is "Matilda"’s turn. The story of the unwanted little girl who defies all odds and discovers that she has unique powers has now made its way to the Broadway stage, and Broadway Records and the YellowSoundLabel have just released the soundtrack to the award-winning musical. With a musical palette composed by Australian actor/musician Tim Minchin from a libretto by Dennis Kelly, "Matilda the Musical" is destined to be a long time tenant on Broadway, having opened this past April, and garnered five Tony Awards in the process.

Four young actresses were initially contracted to play the sympathetic youngster eight shows a week at the Shubert Theater, and all four have now been given equal billing on the studio recording. The Cockney accents are adorable, whether its Sophie Gennusa performing "Naughty" or Milly Shapiro playing the precocious little girl just yearning for "Quiet." The adults have their turns as well. Lauren Ward ("Violet," "Follies") provides the sanity in this production, and her sweet voice brings humanity to Miss Honey, the doormat teacher at Crunchen Hall on the songs, "Pathetic" and "This Little Girl," while Lesli Margherita’s Mrs. Wormwood is the polar opposite; a woman who doesn’t even realize she is nine months pregnant with Matilda until the doctor tells her. Her renditions of "Loud" and her sequence in the opening "Miracle" are hilarious. The star turn, however, goes to stage veteran Bertie Carvel (the Donmar Warehouse production of "Parade"), whose Trunchbull is a diabolical combination of Edna Turnblad and Cruella de Vil.

The recording contains three Bonus Tracks, with all four of the Matilda actresses having the chance to tell a "Story" and the Deluxe Edition contains a cut song from early in the creative process, as well as an alternate version of "Naughty" performed by the four little ladies. Minchin’s score does a great job of painting the dark, sinister world where Matilda exists, and the cast sounds like they are truly enjoying their time exploring it.

"Matilda the Musical"
Original Broadway Recording
CD and digital formats
Broadway Records / YellowSoundLabel

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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