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RSC Premieres Musical of Roald Dahl’s Matilda

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The Royal Shakespeare Company will premiere a new musical based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel Matilda, which will be one of the final productions at Stratford-upon-Avon’s Courtyard Theatre in late 2010 prior to the still “on time and on budget” 2011 reopening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre following a three-year, £112.8 million renovation.

Matilda will have a book by playwright Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian Tim Minchin. The premiere production will be directed by Matthew Warchus.

In Matilda, the central character is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. She’s unloved by her parents but impresses her schoolteacher with and, over the course of her first term at school, teacher and pupil have a profound effect on each other’s lives.

Felicity Dahl, Roald Dahl’s widow, said today; “I am thrilled that Matilda is becoming a reality on stage and that our partners at the RSC share this excitement. We are so proud that Roald’s stories continue to be met with such excitement and joy by children all over the world. And with this project, thousands more children will engage with his magical world yet again, but this time as a wonderful theatrical experience.”

RSC artistic director Michael Boyd commented: “Matilda is a magical and darkly funny book that the RSC has wanted to bring to life on stage for many years. I’m delighted – not least as the father of an eight-year-old girl – that Dahl’s classic tale will play in Stratford for a family audience to enjoy at Christmas. Dennis, Matthew and Tim bring a combination of creativity, wit and mischief to the production which will make the show an experience to remember. We’re very grateful to the Dahl Estate for allowing us to adapt the book.”

Though an infrequent programming choice for the national company devoted to the bard’s work, the RSC has premiered several other non-Shakespeare-related musicals over the years including, most famously, Les Miserables as well as The Wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden and, less successfully, Carrie and A Clockwork Orange.


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