Matilda on Broadway

As soon as my ticket was booked for New York I knew that while there I absolutely wanted to see a musical on Broadway.  I looked up Broadway Shows on the internet and gave Arabella the list of possibilities of what we could see.  As soon as I mentioned Roald Dahl’s Matilda she said, ‘Mum, that was my favourite book when I was growing up, can we see Matilda?’

And so it was decided that we would try to get tickets to the Sam S Shubert Theatre on Broadway to see Matilda.

The Theatre

The Theatre

The Sam S Shubert Theatre was built by the Shubert brothers in tribute to their brother Sam who was killed in a railroad accident at the age of 29.  Occupying a choice location in the heart of the theatre district, on West 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue, the Shubert Theatre opened on October 2, 1913.  It’s famous for holding the longest running show to that date, A Chorus Line, that opened in 1975 and ran for 15 years.  The Shubert Theatre has also been used to host the Tony Awards.  

To buy tickets for a Broadway show you can go on-line or you can try your luck at a half price ticket stand for the chance to buy tickets to a show for that night’s performance at a greatly reduced price.

Arabella beside one of the posters outside the Theatre

Arabella beside one of the posters outside the Theatre

The trouble with buying tickets at one of the three TKTS Ticket Booths is that there are queues; especially in July when it’s peak tourist season.  Arabella and I weighed up the the saving we would make on the tickets against the queueing that could cost us almost a day of our time in New York and the risk that by the time we made it to the counter there wouldn’t be any tickets left anyway.

We decided queuing in the heat wasn’t quite for us and so we ordered our tickets on-line.  Tickets aren’t cheap and range in price from just over $100 to sit on the sides at the rear of the theatre to nearly $300 if you want to sit in the middle and be close to the stage – as we did!

We ended up with tickets to a Sunday 3pm performance of Matilda.  We took the subway (or several subways) to the Shubert Theatre and hadn’t quite calculated enough time to get there so we were as usual, rushing, and only arrived about 10 minutes before the show started.  It did seem to me that when ticket-holders arrive at the Theatre you have to queue outside and then a few minutes before the show starts, the doors are opened and there’s a mad rush to get to your seat.

Matilda on Broadway

Matilda on Broadway

We collected our tickets from the box office, managed to find the restroom (yeah – there is one), buy a bottle of water for the outrageous price of $5.00 and then were shown to our seats.

Our seats were excellent.  They were centre stage and just a few rows from the front.  Photography is not allowed at any stage during the show but I did manage to take one shot of the stage before the musical began.

A fire truck!

A fire truck!

I have seen the movie, Matilda, and loved it as a family film but wasn’t sure what to expect from the musical.  I knew Australian, Tim Minchin had written the music and lyrics for Matilda and having seen the film I was expecting a young cast but apart from that I knew very little.

I have to say that from the very beginning, Matilda is amazing.  Yes, it’s a very young cast and I was overwhelmed by the talent of the children who play their roles so convincingly and genuinely.  There are four young girls all aged between nine and 10 who have the role of playing Matilda.  Ava Ulloa, who at the age of just nine has made her debut on Broadway, played the role of Matilda on the day we saw the show.  She was just gorgeous with cheeks pitted with dimples, a pitch-perfect singing voice and a wonderfully expressive face.

The Playbill

The Playbill

There are quite a few children in the show and they do some pretty challenging work in scenes like leaping over the vault in physical education, climbing up metal frames (more scaffolding!) and swinging on rope swings in unison – all while singing!

And without detracting from what a superb job the children do, I think the star of the show is definitely Christopher Sieber who plays the role of Miss Trunchbull.  He has appeared in many theatre productions on Broadway and in the West End and has a CV as long as your arm that also includes film and TV credits.  He is a scene-stealer.

Sitting in front of the stage

Sitting in front of the stage

If you can manage it, and you are able to see Matilda, I’d recommend trying to sit as close to Row G as possible.  Because during the performance the actors come down off the stage and deliver their lines in front of Row G.  I had Miss Trunchbull standing so close to me I could have touched her (him) and I thought that was extremely special for my first time in a Broadway audience.

New York has so much to offer that when you visit you just know you’re not going to be able to see and do it all and it’s unfortunately a case of prioritising your list.  We kept ‘Broadway musical’ on our list and we were very pleased we did.  It was one of the most special and memorable things we experienced on our visit.

And the show's about to start

And the show’s about to start

Matilda on Broadway:  Sam S Shubert Theatre – 225 West 44th Street, Midtown Manhattan, New York City

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  1. You two had such a great time in New York. You are right – prioritising is the way to go when travelling.

  2. Ahhhhhhhhh….. This is on my list, hope it hangs about so I can see it. Wow, you are doing ALL the things I would do if I visited NYC. Stella seats all right, you can practically touch the stage. 🙂 I would have pre booked too, the time saved is totes worth it.

  3. Hi there! Recently started following your blog / love your recipes and food photography tips! 😉 how lucky you are to see Matilda. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to go one day!

  4. You HAVE to see a play/musical when you’re in NYC … Arabella was very lucky to have the chance to see one of her favourite books in musical form.

  5. We saw this too, and at a 3pm Sunday screening at that 🙂 We also loved it and thought the ticket price was worth it as a quintessential NY experience. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too.

  6. What a great opportunity and perfect that this was Arabella’s favorite childhood book.

  7. How fun! Glad you two got to experience it together! xo

  8. No visit to NYC is complete without seeing a show on Broadway! We usually do TKTS, but if there’s something you really want to see, buying the tickets online is the safest (and certainly easiest!) way to go. Sounds like a fun experience.

  9. You really did map out a perfect visit for NYC and I agree with the comment above that said that no trip to NYC is complete without seeing a show on Broadway. I do love it that you two made the most of your visit in every good way.

  10. Hmm, not sure we could afford anything in New York, not with our pathetic exchange rate. Loving be able to live it vicariously through you.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  11. Hi Charlie, oh now I’m envious, what fun!!!

  12. I’d say you packed in quite a lot on your trip to NYC! What fun and so exciting to see a Broadway play. 🙂

  13. Oh Charlie, I am so glad that you had a great time in NY! Awesome pictures…
    Hope you are having a fun week 😀

  14. I too am glad you had an awesome time in NYC, and how precious to share the experience with Arabella. You sure packed in a lot but there are still a great deal about NYC to experience which means you have to make another trip.

  15. What an exciting outing! You do the BEST stuff!

  16. What a fun experience! I bet you have never it so much culture and fun into one holiday before… Take care, BAM

  17. I love the theatre in New York! I see a show every time I go to NY to see my sister.

  18. What a great experience! Ava is such a pretty child. What talent she must have!

  19. Sounds like it was a really fun show and a highlight on your trip!

  20. I make sure to see at least one show whenever I’m in New York but, you’re right, the TKTS line can be daunting, to say the least. It’s awful in the Summer heat but it really isn’t any better when there’s a Winter wind blowing. I think you made the right choice. Did you know that the 4 girls that shared the Matilda role won a special Tony Award in 2013? Yes, they’re that good.

  21. Ah Matilda. My hubby’s fave book even at his advanced old age!:)

  22. There is just something about Matilda that makes me smile 😀
    You are so lucky!

    Choc Chip Uru

  23. OMG i had no no no IDEA Matilda has been made into a Broadway show! We watched Mary Poppins when we were there and my silly boyfriend decided to sleep LITERALLY more than half i was not pleased.

    I really hope Matilda will come to Melbourne one day!

  24. I’m so glad you prioritized this experience. You can’t go to NYC and miss Broadway! I think you have to limit what you do to a few special priorities and then just allow the rest of the visit to unfold. You made some really good decisions and it’s clear you had a great time!

  25. How fun, I loved that movie! 🙂

  26. G’day LOVE that theatre and there is something so special about seeing a play on Broadway!
    I have many wonderful memories and glad you thoroughly enjoyed your experience on the day!
    Cheers! Joanne


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