Last winter, we were in New York City to see the "Christmas Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall when my son, Sam, spied a billboard for "Matilda the Musical", soon to arrive at the Shubert Theater on Broadway.
Deeply interested in a third-grade unit dedicated to author Roald Dahl, creator of the original book, he said: "Can we see it, Mom?"
And, just last week, we did.
Quirky and completely brilliant - we loved it.
But, this particular reviewer focuses on an aspect that a parent should know: the show is very dark.
Matilda Wormwood, played with such feeling by a little girl named Oona Laurence, is born to two horrible people...and she really struggles through a painful childhood, singing: "If it's not right, you gotta put it right." This little girl made me cry...then laugh....admire her bravery....and cheer for her success.
Is this show for every kid? No...my boys are 10 and 8, just the right ages...they were absolutely riveted to the long-ish show. But, a younger child could be scared by the mature themes involving Matilda's plight and the evil school principal.
Roald Dahl gave kids respect by introducing them to complex story lines, ultimatelty, I believe, opening their eyes and teaching them empathy. Ben turned to me at one point and said: "I'm glad my family isn't like this!" I thought his observation was productive. Life isn't all daisies and roses for everyone. Matilda fought like heck to manage her situation and have hope...that's a pretty incredible lesson.
The set is amazing and the songs are glorious. We bought the music and have been dancing around the house, singing "Miracle", "Naughty" and "When I Grow Up".
So, if you're looking for a holiday trip into Manhattan to take-in a new show, check out Matilda. I am really grateful that Sam inspired our entire family to go out of our comfort zone and embark on a cultural experience that inspired important conversations.
You will leave the Shubert moved...with a lot to discuss on the way back to Connecticut.