Sunday, April 24, 2016


Imagine how Harry Potter must have felt being brought up by family members who were muggles and not understanding or compatible with his magical tendencies. Now think of a clever little girl, known for her creative and brilliant ways, who is being raised by less than intelligent caregivers.  Her dad is a car salesman with all the attendant challenges in the honesty department while her mother is an amateur ballroom dancer who wants to be valued for her looks rather than her mind.

Come meet Matilda, the enterprising star of “Matilda the Musical,” created from a story by Roald Dahl and being brought to precocious life by Tim Minchin, music and lyrics, book by Dennis Kelly, and additional lyrics by Chris Nightingale, at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts until Sunday, May 1.

At the age of five, Matilda has her hands full at home dealing with her parents, Harry and Zinnia Wormwood, who are less than encouraging.  They feel that their daughter is “batty” and do little to feed her intellect.   At school, at Crunchem Hall, Matilda continues to fight the establishment as Agatha Trunchbull is the headmistress from H-E- Double Hockey Sticks and gives tyrants and bullies a bad name.

Fortunately, Matilda finds allies who appreciate her in her meek but supportive kindergarten teacher, Miss Honey, and Mrs. Phelps, the helpful librarian, who provides reading challenges and loves Matilda’s incredible stories.  Here is a little girl who cut her imagination  on Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling and is enamored by Will Shakespeare.

To help herself get along, she is not adverse to using a little trickery to get the results she desires, like waking up her parents to their neglect of her needs.  Her greatest triumph, however, is her defeat of the headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who dismisses her students as “shriveled losers.”  Come see how Matilda puts her properly in her place, because even the nicest child sometimes has to be “a little bit naughty.”  Songs like “When I Grow Up,” “Naughty” and “Revolting Children” underscore Matilda’s path to happiness.

For tickets ($27.50-119.00), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at  Performances are Tuesday - Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Take a seat at your school desk with your plaid book bag, make some paper airplanes and spitballs and prepare to learn some important lessons about life.

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