The Showbiz production of Matilda opens in Christchurch next week and marks the end of a three-year drought.
Christchurch theater company Showbiz will lift the curtain this week on its first show in three years, after the pandemic led to the cancellation and postponement of a series of productions.
The company will end its dry spell with a production of the hit musical Matilda at the Isaac Theater Royal on Friday, making it the first show staged by Showbiz since Miss Saigon in September 2019.
Showbiz general manager Craig Ogilvie said it was a relief to finally open a new show.
“It feels like we’ve been waiting so long for this to happen,” he said.
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“There is a big buzz. On opening night, there will be a sense of relief and a huge sense of excitement. We will feel like we are back.
The company had to cancel its 2020 season of My Fair Lady and rock ‘n roll musical Buddy as the pandemic took hold. My Fair Lady, which was canceled just weeks before it opened, was postponed to September last year and then canceled again. It has since been postponed to September next year.
Buddy was delayed to September last year, but had to be canceled again when the Delta variant caused more blockages.
Matilda was originally scheduled to open in April, but was pushed back to September. Showbiz plans to stage a production of Kate Sheppard’s musical That Bloody Woman in July.
Ogilvie said the company had to downsize in order to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“We tried to keep things to a minimum and push through.
“We look forward to getting back to scale when things normalize.”
Matilda is a witty and moving musical based on the book by Roald Dahl, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.
The show, which opened in the West End in 2011 and on Broadway in 2013, has won numerous awards over its long run, including seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards.
The show follows Matilda Wormwood as she and her fellow students start a revolution in Crunchem Hall to overthrow fearsome headmistress Miss Trunchbull’s bullying rule.
The Guardian described the show as “joyfully naughty” and “an evening of pure bliss”.
Ogilvie said the character of Matilda became a role model for the theater company.
“I admire his ferocity and perseverance, which as a theater organization we well understand after three difficult years due to Covid-19.”
He said it felt good to be back on stage at the Isaac Theater Royal after the enforced break.
“It’s great to be back. It feels like our spiritual home.