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Jen took this photo during our unsuccessful bid to secure tickets via a lottery.

Jen took this photo during our unsuccessful bid to secure tickets via a lottery.

I was lucky enough to get tickets last week to see Matilda, which I’ve wanted to see ever since it came out in London. Unfortunately Jen had left New York by then, so it was just me. Here are some spoiler-lite highlights:

  • there are plenty of surprises, even if you, like me, have listened to the soundtrack more times than is healthy and know the book inside and out
  • the set was covered in what looked like gigantic Scrabble tiles, and it was fun picking out the words. I found “joy” and “child” and “Alice,” presumably of the Wonderland variety
  • for anyone who’s wondering how they managed the Bruce Bogtrotter Cake Eating Miracle, fear not. No children were force-fed in the making of this musical. I suspect secret compartments or hidden pockets, though it was hard to tell from my balcony seat.
  • there’s a clever use of shadow puppet art that reminds me of the Tale of the Three Brothers from the seventh Harry Potter Movie (arguably the best scene of the entire movie series…)
  • remember the part in the book when Matilda tells Miss Honey about all the books she’s read, Dickens and Bronte and all those classics? She does that too in the musical, with some noteworthy additions. The one that got the best laugh was Lord of the Rings. Clearly I wasn’t the only geek in the audience.

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cover_wtmmtmWe’re always jealous of people who live in New York when it comes to their proximity to plays and musicals based on kids’ books (we’re still dreaming of seeing Matilda). But the upcoming theater season in Boston makes us glad to be where we are:

The Hobbit (Oct 25 – Nov 24): strategically timed to coincide with the movie. We’re especially looking forward to the Smaug puppet. Since it’s at the Wheelock Family Theatre, will the dwarves be played by kids and teens?

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (Oct 31 – Nov 3): will be monumentally depressing (how will they stage the whale?). Better bring tissues. Don’t think we’ll be okay for now when we leave the theater.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Apr 11- May 11, 2014): Another dragon on stage! And good incentive for me to read the book before May, when WtMMtM makes its East Coast debut, also at the Wheelock.

Also, in non-kidlit theater news, at least two local theater companies are putting on Chekov’s The Seagull this season. Would you recommend it? For those in the Boston area, please feel free to share productions we shouldn’t miss out on.

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Well, Professor Umbridge would be the last person to wish you all a happy weekend, so it stands to reason she’s gracing us with her presence on a Monday (incidentally, her favorite day of the week.)

umbridge

Doesn’t she look smashing in pink?

 

 

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montmaraycover2Our motion picture related post got us thinking about the silver screen. Now that Downton Abbey is on hiatus, might we suggest the Montmaray Journals, which we think would be perfect as the next big period drama. Exiled royalty, a vengeful (and borderline insane) servant, debutante parties, the onset of WWII, and an opinionated great-aunt that could give Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess a run for her money, the FitzOsbornes have it all as they zip in and out of world events with dignity, humor, and style.

We’ve decided to do some wishful casting for The Montmaray Journals, but despite all the Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey we watch, our knowledge of actors is fairly limited. So please chime in with your own fan casts!

Sophie FitzOsborne: Saoirse Ronan (aka the girl from Atonement)

Veronica: Jessica Brown Findlay (aka Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey)

Toby: Eddie Redmayne (aka Marius from Les Mis)

Henry: Ramona Marquez (aka Karen from Outnumbered)

Simon: Skandar Keynes (aka Edmund from Narnia)

Daniel: Arthur Darvill (aka Rory from Doctor Who)

Rebecca: Siobhan Finneran (aka O’Brien from Downton Abbey)

Aunt Charlotte: toss up between Catherine Tate (aka Donna from Doctor Who) and Penelope Wilton (aka Harriet Jones! from Doctor Who)

The Colonel: toss up between Hugh Laurie (aka House) and Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Sherlock)

Rupert: Tommy Knight (aka Sarah Jane Smith’s son from Doctor Who)

Julia: Jenna Louise Coleman (aka Oswin Oswald/Clara/??? from Doctor Who)

Anthony: Thomas Howes (aka William from Downton Abbey)

(Yeah, it’s basically one big Doctor Who party, with some Downton thrown in as well. Conclusion: we watch way too much television.)

Update: Author Michelle Cooper has actually thought this through before. See her picks and many more here.

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Usually we prefer books to stay books, because the movie versions rarely turn out as good as what we’ve envisioned in our heads (set design aside…) But there are always exceptions to the rule, and we think these books would be brilliant as films:

teamhuman1) Team Human by Justine Larbalestrier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Twi-hard fans and Twi-hard avoiders will adore this clever and comic take on high school with vampires. Subverting a genre has never been so fun. (Even the cover looks like a movie poster!)

2) Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Kids in a dangerous rocket ship. What could go wrong?

au revoir, cec3) Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

This is a teen action-spy movie waiting to happen. Plus, everything goes down on prom night.

4) Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

This graphic novel would make a quirky animated film. A quirky animated cartoon film. With the panels drawn in for good measure!

origami Y5) The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

If George Lucas/Disney is bringing us Star Wars Episode 7 and more, why not go all out? This is the ultimate homage. We’re thinking live action with Kellen’s doodles. (But please don’t let George write the script!)

What are some books you’d like to see as movies?

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“There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes,” said the Fourth Doctor, so when Winter Storm Saturn rolled into town, I took his advice to heart:

Snow Dalek says, "Refrigerate! Refrigerate!"

Snow Dalek says, “Refrigerate! Refrigerate!”

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credit: Paul Bransom

credit: Paul Bransom

I love love love BBC radio plays (recently heard Copenhagen by Michael Frayn) and lo and behold: a grand, jubilant, and charming version of The Wind in the Willows, read by British actors and set to the BBC radio orchestra. Fantastic, a new take on an old classic!

Click here for the link. Enjoy!

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