Matilda international tour comes to Manila

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A scene from the international touring production of Matilda the Musical.

THE STORY of a young girl named Matilda has told on the pages of books since 1988, on the big screen in 1996, and onstage since 2010. This year, the musical (that uses over 100 tubs of chocolate every year) comes to Manila — its 63rd city — at the Theater at Solaire beginning March 5.

Matilda the Musical has won over 85 international awards including the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Musical and a joint Best Actress award for the four young actresses who played the lead role.

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the musical is based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl.

Matilda the Musical (with the book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin) follows the five-year-old Matilda — who is gifted with telekinesis — in overcoming struggles in her family and in school.

Thanks to audience feedback, Global Marketing Group (GMG) Productions is bringing the international production to Manila.

“It’s a title that has always scored very highly in surveys, and just the general chatter online between our theater fans in the community here. Everyone says, ‘We love Matilda. We like to see Matilda.’ So, of course, we react to that kind of response,” Robert Sewell, founder of ticketing portal TicketWorld and GMG producer, told BusinessWorld at a Matilda-themed tea party on Jan. 27 at the Diamond Hotel Philippines in Manila City.

“We always talk to everyone involved in the theater and they’ll give us their ideas, and we also do online surveys,” added Carlos Candal, owner and CEO of GMG.

“We get a very big social media following in GMG productions. People are always giving us feedback. [We also consider] the biggest shows that are going on globally — those are the ones that we want to bring in here,” he said.

The musical is directed by Tony Award winner Matthew Warchus, with sets and costumes by Tony Award winner Rob Howell, choreography by Peter Darling, orchestration, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting design by Tony Award winner Hugh Vanstone, and sound design by Simon Baker.

Alternating as Matilda in the travelling production are Zara Yazbek Polito, Sofia Poston, and Zoe Modlinne. Haley Flaherty takes on the role of Miss Honey, while Hayden Tee will be playing Miss Trunchbull. Joining them are Stephen Jubber who takes on the role of Mr. Wormwood, Claire Taylor as Mrs. Wormwood, and Nompumelelo Mayiyane as Mrs. Phelps.

“The script is the same. You’ll find that the sets of the tour will be more elaborate, and you have a touring production that has worked together for years and years,” Mr. Sewell said of the international production.

The musical was staged in Manila by Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group in 2017.

“People go and watch the show for a number of reasons: they want to go and see if it’s the same as the book, [and the] same as the movie. But what we want them to take away is a fabulous theater experience. So, when we put another show on, they’re gonna think about how good it was for Matilda, and certainly will come [again] and see another,” Mr. Sewell said.

There will be special prices on selected show dates. On March 10, 8 p.m., the price across all orchestra seats will be P3,800, while the price across all balcony seats will be P1,800. On March 17, 8 p.m., and March 22, 6 p.m., all orchestra seats will be P4,000 and all balcony seats will go for P2,000. A matinee performance has been added on March 18, 2 p.m., with all tickets are sold at P2,200. For more ticket information, visit TicketWorld. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman