'Matilda' Recoups on Broadway

Joan Marcus
Kids in Broadway shows often pour on so much artificial sweetener they should come with a warning to diabetics. But not the rebellious downtrodden urchins in this brilliant musical. Director Matthew Warchus, writer Dennis Kelly and the master of tongue-twisting wit, composer-lyricist Tim Minchin, perfectly capture the malevolent mischief of Roald Dahl’s brainiac fairytale.

REVIEW: Matilda

The $16 million Roald Dahl musical opened in April 2013 and recently crossed the $100 million mark at the box office

It's taken more than a year and a half, but Matilda, the inventive musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's modern-classic children's novel, is officially a profitable hit on Broadway.

Producers the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers confirmed on Friday that the show has paid back its $16 million investment, placing it in the elite circle of big-budget musicals to turn a profit both in London and on Broadway.

Directed by Matthew Warchus, Matilda has a Tony-winning book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian and composer Tim Minchin. The show is based on Dahl’s 1988 dark fairy tale of a bookish little girl with a vivid imagination who manages to triumph over her neglectful parents and tyrannical school headmistress.

Read more ‘Matilda’: Theater Review

After opening to great acclaim and a record seven Olivier Award wins in London, the musical opened at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre on April 11, 2013, to rave reviews, landing on the year's top 10 theater lists of a number of publications, including The Hollywood Reporter.

The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won four, losing the top prize for best musical in a heated race against Kinky Boots, which recouped its $13.5 million capitalization in October 2013, after just seven months.

See more David Rooney’s Top 10 New York Theater Picks for 2013

Box office for Matilda on Broadway has slipped marginally since this summer but attendance remains steadily above 70 percent capacity. The production had a strong Thanksgiving week total of $1,454,493, and has chalked up cumulative grosses of $100.5 million to date. While the recoupment announcement seems somewhat late for a production that has consistently grossed north of $1 million a week for much of its run, reps for the show declined to provide clarification.

The musical's North American tour will commence in May 2015, officially opening with a May 29-July 12 engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Plans were also recently announced to launch an Australian production, premiering at Sydney's Lyric Theatre in August 2015.

Minchin earlier this year revealed that his next musical is a stage adaptation of the perennially popular 1993 Bill Murray comedy, Groundhog Day, with Warchus again attached to direct. No timeline on that project has been set.