I considered trying to mask the fact that these are actually shows I’m super excited for, but I might as well be honest: these kid-friendly theater programs look amazing. I blame the fact that I'm still secretly a kid.
Matilda – The Musical
Growing up, I was in awe of the Matilda film, starring Mara Wilson (Matilda), Danny DeVito (Mr. Wormwood), Rhea Pearlman (Mrs. Wormwood), and Embeth Davidtz (Miss Honey). Matilda was just a kid, but she walked to the library by herself, flipped a perfect pancake, tied the blue ribbon on her head in a precise bow, and even had telekinetic powers. Insert dreamy sigh. As I grew older, my love for Matilda grew, especially when I devoured Roald Dahl’s book (which the film is based on). I came to admire Matilda for her sass and smarts.
So when I saw Matilda would not just be coming to the theater but had been turned into a musical, all bets were off. Set in England, Matilda — The Musical now has everything that was wonderful about the movie, plus the added element of singing and British accents. What more could you ask for?
How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular
If you saw this movie in 2010 and didn't love it, you’re totally lying to yourself. How to Train Your Dragon follows an awkward boy named Hiccup who doesn't quite fit in with his Viking neighbors. While they’re off killing dragons that plague the village, Hiccup struggles to muster enthusiasm for the tradition. In an effort to prove himself, Hiccup creates a cannon to shoot down and kill the legendary Night Fury. It works, but when he’s face-to-face with the creature, Hiccup realizes that maybe the villagers had been wrong about dragons all along.
Oh, by the way, all of that happens within the first few minutes of the show.
How to Train Your Dragon really is an underdog story, and who doesn't love rooting for the underdog? What’s more, though the graphics in the film were stunning, I can’t imagine anything more spectacular than 24 animatronic dragons thundering across the stage. That’s right — 24 giant, scaly, fire-breathing, flying dragons are part of the live performance. They. Look. Awesome.
Cinderella – The Musical
Take any classic fairy tale and put it onstage and I’m already so in. But Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella - The Musical, one of the most iconic fairy tales of all time? I may show up in my own tiara and glass slippers.
We all know the basic gist of Cinderella — morally good young girl is forced to be a servant to her evil stepmother and her two almost-as-evil stepsisters until one magical night when a fairy godmother visits, grants her a bunch of wishes, and she meets Prince Charming. Spoiler alert: the magic ends at midnight, Cinderella loses a glass slipper, Prince Charming stops at nothing to find her, and then they reunite and live happily ever after. You know, just the regular Saturday night for most of us.
This Rodgers and Hammerstein’s version (first shown in 1957 with Julie Andrews as Cinderella, and later made into a film starring Brandy and Whitney Houston) promises to reinvent the fairy tale with a few fun twists. I’m in.