MATILDA THE MUSICAL Premieres At Theatre In The Park This Weekend

MATILDA THE MUSICAL Premieres At Theatre In The Park This Weekend

Meet Matilda, an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination, a sharp mind...and a little naughtiness, dares to take a stand against the bullies of the world thereby changing her own destiny. Based on the universally cherished 1988 Roald Dahl novel Matilda The Musical is a witty, whimsical tale about growing up, standing up, and the true meaning of family. MATILDA the MUSICAL weaves together inventive song and dance numbers, pranks (usually at the expense of Matilda's father), and life lessons that will warm every heart in the audience. Originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company MATILDA the MUSICAL, with book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, has won 47 international awards and continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages around the world.

MATILDA the MUSICAL premieres at Theatre in the Park on Friday, July 19 with performances continuing Saturday, July 20, Sunday, July 21 and Wednesday, July 24 through Saturday, July 27. MATILDA is rated PG with show time at 8:30 p.m. The TIP box office opens at 6:30 p.m. on performance evenings and the gates to the seating bowl open at 7 p.m. Matilda the Musical runs approximately two and half hours with one 15-minute intermission.

Matilda loves to read and tell stories, much to the chagrin of her TV loving parents who refuse to acknowledge that she isn't a boy. Matilda chooses to take refuge at the local library where she enthralls the kindly librarian, Mrs. Phelps, with her heart wrenching tale of an escapologist and his acrobat wife. At school Matilda immediately impresses her teacher, Miss Honey with her impressive intellect and long list of books that she has already read. However, the nasty, child-hating, draconian rule enforcing headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is unwilling to allow Miss Honey to advance Matilda to the highest classes meaning that Miss Honey and Matilda must work in secret to keep her studies moving forward. Meanwhile Matilda gets an education of another sort, learning how to use her cleverness to summon the courage to help save the school's pupils from the treachery of The Trunchbull.

Director Mark Swezey returns to the TIP with longtime creative partners Laura VanLeeuwen as music director and choreography by Ann McCroskey. The team also includes McCroskey's son Mitch McCroskey as assistant choreographer and VanLeeuwen's mother Jan O'Rourke as accompanist creating a truly family atmosphere to the show inside and out. The cast includes a cross-section of talented performers from across the metro area. Mia Cabrera, who splashed on to the TIP stage as Flounder in last year's Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID, returns in the title role of Matilda, a dream come true for this 12-year-old. In addition, 30-plus members of the company are either current students or have graduated from Shawnee Mission South High School!

An educator himself, Swezey is excited to direct this TIP premiere with important lessons for all. "While Matilda dreams of happy endings she lives in a world ruled by several ignorant adult bullies, who use fear as a way to get children to follow their commands," Swezey said. "She realizes at her young age that even if you are smaller or younger, if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. This is the basis to give her the power and strength to defeat ignorance and overcome dangerous and fearful situations."

Celebrating its 50th summer season of family musical entertainment, Theatre in the Park has involved thousands of people from across the metro area in its productions and is an award-winning program of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District and is the largest outdoor community theater in the country. Theatre in the Park program sponsors are Advent Health and First National Bank; MATILDA THE MUSICAL is sponsored by Renewal by Anderson Window Replacement.

Following MATILDA, TIP conclude its 50th OUTDOOR season with the classic THE WIZARD OF OZ (Aug. 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 & 10; directed by Tiffany Schweigert; rated G)

Full details for all productions can be found online at

TIP OUTDOOR ticket prices are $8 for adults, $6 for youth (ages 4-10) plus tax, and children three and under are free (but require a ticket for entrance). Reserved seats and parking are also available. Tickets may be purchased online at or at the theatre box office on performance evenings.

But the fun doesn't end with MATILDA and THE WIZARD OF OZ! TIP will continue it's 50th season celebrations INDOORS and the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center with SWEET CHARITY (October 11-27) and FROZEN JR. (Dec. 6-15). Full details about TIP INDOOR performances are available at

MOVIES IN THE PARK continue at TIP's outdoor amphitheater and ALL movie tickets are only $1!

For movies, gates open at 7:30 p.m. with films starting at 8:30-8:45 p.m., depending on sunset.

This summer's movies include:

  • Tuesday, July 23: BLACK PANTHER (PG-13)

  • Monday, Aug. 5: A DOG'S WAY HOME (PG)

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