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  1. Matilda the Musical

    This past week, the touring production of Matilda the Musical came to Hartford, and being a fan both of Dahl's novel (when I read it 15+ years ago) and the peppy jazz influenced score, I decided not to miss it. Anyway I had a blast. Like many musicals, it gets a little bogged down in act II, some of the numbers aren't as strong as others, and the whole finale is a little rushed, but there are some wonderfully inventive staging techniques, the high parts soar, and the many parts for kids are well written and demanding without being too challenging. There were a couple times when some of the younger supporting kids could have had slightly better diction, and I was glad I knew the lyrics to the songs, but their dancing and acrobatics were just incredible. I did appreciate that the musically weaker songs (such as "Loud") were accompanied by more flashy staging; however, there are enough times when both music and staging came together in top form ("When I Grow Up," "School Song") that the lows are apparent. Still, the musical's a ton of fun, and its love for literature, creativity, storytelling, and the theatre shines through throughout. And for something geared toward both the inner child in adults and kids old enough to sit thought a musical*, Matilda pulls off the balance of thrilling both. Is anyone else familiar with it at all? *It's a pretty faithful adaptation (if my memory is accurate) of one of Dahl's darkest and weirdest novels, so age appropriateness for kids could vary widely.
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