There are plenty of reasons why going to see a musical is a good idea for a great night out, but the one reason that stands out to me above all else is that the theater, when it's the right production, the right cast, and a gorgeous venue – is simply magical.
I have seen more musical productions in my life than I can count. From small-time elementary school to high school to local theater companies to big glorious touring Broadway shows in San Francisco. And all of them have been quite capable of conjuring up that magic.
But this past weekend, I caught a show that truly captured more of that magic then I had ever seen on stage previously: Matilda. SHN has brought the current touring production of Matilda to San Francisco's legendary Orpheum Theater, and it is not to be missed.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Matilda is based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name about a young girl stuck in a dark world full of cruel adults and, through the love of books, the power of imagination, and the simple belief in what is right, she manages to take control and write her own story.
The young Mabel Tyler was absolutely enchanting as Matilda (Tyler is one of three Matildas in this touring production, alternating the role with Gabby Gutierrez and Mia Sinclair Jenness), while Jennifer Blood was perfectly cast as the kind-hearted Miss Honey. Cassie Silva and Quinn Mattfeld were brilliant as Matilda's evil parents, The Wormwoods, and provided many of the evening's laugh out loud moments.
Ora Jones, the rest of the adult cast, and the astonishingly talented ensemble of children were all captivating and kept adults and children enthralled each and every moment.
Bryce Ryness’ monstrously evil Miss Trunchbull, Matilda's school's Headmistress, was horribly frightening and absolutely hilarious with some of the best one-liners of the show.
The production is definitely aimed at the entire family, but I found it truly reached its sweet spot when speaking to those of us who may be feeling a little low on magic these days, something Matilda offers to the audience in spades.
Matilda reminds us that though we may not be able to rewrite the past we are given the opportunity to write ourselves a new ending each and every day. As long as we are strong enough and brave enough to simply do it.
Dennis Kelly's adaptation, along with Tim Minchin lyrics, Peter Darling's choreography, and direction by Matthew Warchus has created a truly magical production.
Matilda runs through August 15 at the Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F. Get ticket information here.