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Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall

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Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall

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jacobsnchz14
#1Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 7:59am

NEW CO-PRODUCTION

The National Theatre has announced a new co-production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, with the Roald Dahl Story Company, playing from 7 November.

The Witches will play in the Olivier theatre in a new musical version of the iconic story by Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy, directed by Lyndsey Turner. 

The Witches is a rip-roaring musical version of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale, filled with wit, daring and heart.

Everything you know about witches is wrong. Forget the pointy hats and broomsticks: they’re the most dangerous creatures on earth. And now they’ve come up with their most evil plan yet.

The only thing standing in their way is Luke and his Gran. But he’s ten and she’s got a dodgy heart. Time is short, danger is everywhere, and they’ve got just one chance to stop the witches from squalloping every stinking little child in England.

One of Dahl’s most loved stories, The Witches is a brilliant blend of his trademark humour and hair-raising action, featuring one of his most iconic characters, the Grand High Witch. A firm fan favourite across the generations, the book has sold over 11 million copies since it was first published.

The cast includes three-time Olivier-nominated Katherine Kingsley (The Larkins) as the Grand High Witch and BAFTA Award-winner Daniel Rigby (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mr Stringer, alongside Julie Armstrong, Chrissie Bhima, Zoe Birkett, Daniele Coombe, Molly-May Gardiner, Tiffany Graves, Tania Mathurin, Jacob Maynard, Laura Medforth and Ben Redfern.

The production has set and costume design by Lizzie Clachan, with choreography by Stephen Mear, music supervision by Nigel Lilley, music direction by Cat Beveridge, lighting by Bruno Poet, co-sound design by Alexander Caplen and Ian Dickinson, video design by Ash J Woodward, illusions by Chris Fisher and Will Houstoun, and casting by Bryony Jarvis-Taylor.

Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris said: “I’m thrilled that the National Theatre and Roald Dahl Story Company are coming together for the first time to bring one of Dahl’s most enduring stories to the Olivier stage. This extraordinary, exciting production of The Witches with Lucy Kirkwood’s brilliant, witty book and Lyndsey Turner’s ambitious vision is the culmination of many years of development at the National Theatre’s exceptional New Work Department. With Dave Malloy at the musical helm, I couldn’t be more excited to be bringing this ambitious new piece of music theatre to the stage.

Tickets go on sale to the public on 27 April.

willep
#2Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 8:23am

Dave Malloy and The Witches?! I’m interested.

Ke3
#3Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 8:44am

My first thought reading the title of this thread was "the music for this would have to be haunting", then I started reading and realized "Malloy" was Dave Malloy, then I blacked out. Now I'm awake again and screaming at the top of my lungs.

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#4Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 9:48am

Wow!!!!!!!!!!

Very much here for this. 

Did we know Dave Malloy was working on this?

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Jordan Catalano
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binau
#6Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 9:57am

Jordan Catalano said: "Can’t believe it’s FINALLY happening. It was first reported in 2017!!



https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Adaptation-of-Roald-Dahls-THE-WITCHES-To-Play-The-National-Theatre-in-2018-20170929
"

Interesting different composer was attached back then. That might explain some of the delay, haha. 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000

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Jordan Catalano
#7Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 9:59am

Lol I’m sure! Can’t wait for casting to be announced for this. 

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#8Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 10:34am

Jordan Catalano said: "Lol I’m sure! Can’t wait for casting to be announced for this."

Cast was announced above. 

The cast includes three-time Olivier-nominated Katherine Kingsley (The Larkins) as the Grand High Witch and BAFTA Award-winner Daniel Rigby (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mr Stringer, alongside Julie Armstrong, Chrissie Bhima, Zoe Birkett, Daniele Coombe, Molly-May Gardiner, Tiffany Graves, Tania Mathurin, Jacob Maynard, Laura Medforth and Ben Redfern.

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Jordan Catalano
#9Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 10:41am

Thanks for that - don't know how I overlooked that! lol

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AndreyIsntHere
#10Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 1:41pm

Everything about my profile gives away my love for Malloy. I can’t wait for this!

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RippedMan
#11Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 2:44pm

Feel like there's not enough material there, the movie and the book always felt so slight, but hey, I'm here for it. Curious to see what they do! 

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#12Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 4/19/23 at 3:01pm

RippedMan said: "Feel like there's not enough material there, the movie and the book always felt so slight, but hey, I'm here for it. Curious to see what they do!"

They will definitely have to flesh it out. The recent Robert Zemeckis adaptation was particularly slight. 

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jacobsnchz14
#13Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 7:42am

https://www.whatsonstage.com/news/full-cast-announced-for-the-witches-musical-at-the-national-theatre_58776/

The full cast of 53 is announced today. The company is set to be joining Katherine Kingsley (Matilda) as the Grand High Witch, BAFTA Award-winner Daniel Rigby (Accidental Death of an Anarchist) as hotel manager Mr Stringer and Sally Ann Triplett (Oklahoma!) as Gran.

Playing Luke’s parents are Laura Medforth as Mum and Richard David-Caine as Dad, while playing Bruno’s parents are Ekow Quartey as Mr Jenkins and Maggie Service as Mrs Jenkins, and playing Chef Chevalier at Hotel Magnificent is Irvine Iqbal.

Playing the witches are Julie Armstrong, Chrissie Bhima, Zoe Birkett, Maddison Bulleyment, Miracle Chance, Daniele Coombe, Molly-May Gardiner, Tiffany Graves, Bobbie Little, Tania Mathurin, Amira Matthews, and Alexandra Waite-Roberts. Completing the team at Hotel Magnificent are Adrian Grove, Jacob Maynard and Ben Redfern. The cast will also be playing multiple roles as part of the ensemble.

Amongst the young cast and playing our hero, Luke, are Bertie Caplan, Frankie Keita and Vishal Soni. Playing Bruno are Cian Eagle-Service, George Menezes Cutts and William Skinner, and playing Helga are Jersey Blu Georgia, Asanda Abbie Masike and Chloe Raphael.

Completing the young ensemble are Nesim Adnan, Alaia Broadbent, Chenai Broadbent, Cristian Buttaci, Sekhani Dumezweni, Rudy Gibson, Florence Gore, Elara Jagger, Annabelle Jones, Jemima Loosen, Charlie Man-Evans, Iesa Miller, Jack Philpott, Sienna Sibley, Savannah Skinner-Henry, Poppy-Mei Soon, Benjamin Spalding, Dylan Trigger, Alice Valeriano, Sasha Watson-Lobo and Stella Yeoman.

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Jay Lerner-Z
#14Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 12:35pm

I probably sound annoyingly "woke" to some of you, but I'm kinda surprised at the enthusiasm for this. Considering the misogyny and antisemitism of the source material. It is not "timeless", it is the opposite.


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

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The Distinctive Baritone
#15Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 1:34pm

Jay Lerner-Z said: "I probably sound annoyingly "woke" to some of you, but I'm kinda surprised at the enthusiasm for this. Considering the misogyny and antisemitism of the source material. It is not "timeless", it is the opposite."


I had no idea what you were talking about, so I Googled “Roald Dahl witches antisemitism.” I forgot about the horrible anti-Semitic comments he made while he was alive. Totally gross and very upsetting.

That said…based on the article I read on the subject, calling the book itself antisemitic feels like a stretch to me. Besides, Shakespeare was an arguably both an antisemite and a misogynist too. Should we stop reading and performing his works as well? 

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Kad
#16Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 2:25pm

I think the exaggerated grotesquerie of the witches in the book and original film go a very long way to bury many of the problematic elements in the story itself.  


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

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Jay Lerner-Z
#17Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 2:31pm

I'm not trying to overstate it, and maybe I'm misremembering, but I thought there was some talk about it when the Robert Zemeckis movie came out. I remember Anne Hathaway having to apologize over something. Anyway, if you're interested further, maybe you'll find this short article more convincing.

 

In an article for the Free Library of Philadelphia, librarian Joel Nichols refers to the complexities of rereading problematic childhood favorites. Nichols notes that, as adults, we’re more aware of messaging that slips in, especially from older authors. In revisiting The Witches as adults, we may notice three primary anti-Semitic tropes in play: the association of “Jewish features” with evil or wicked characters; blood libel/child-snatching; and wealth as a symbol of power and corruption.

Attributing Jewish features to “bad witches” goes back centuries. In an article about the origins of archetypical witches, Elie Bufford writes, “The stereotype of the ‘Jewish nose’ is often used in anti-Semitic media, including Nazi propaganda such as ‘ The Eternal Jew…While in early folklore it was likely not initially tied to antisemitism, the feature is used in modern times to code characters as Jewish.”

She highlights The Wizard of Oz as an example, noting Glinda the Good Witch’s bubbly, glowing personality and attractive features against the Wicked Witch of the West’s (who, in pre-Wicked days, doesn’t even get a name) long, hooked nose. Furthermore, Nichols references a Facebook post by librarian and children’s author Kyle Lukoff concerning The Witches. Lukoff noted references to large noses in both the book and original film. He cites Dahl’s mention of “queer noses” and “enlarged nostrils,”

Nerdist


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

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Jay Lerner-Z
#18Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 2:35pm

The movies might, or might not, go a long way to burying the problems... but don't they also go a long way in encouraging young minds to read the original book? The same book that is described as an enduring classic in the press release.


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

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RippedMan
#19Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 2:40pm

I read the book when the new film came out and went back and watched the old movie and I didn’t get any of that? 

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Jay Lerner-Z
#20Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 2:47pm

That's okay, not everyone will. I'm more worried about the subconscious. People with big noses are evil, not to be trusted etc.

Anyway, I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade. Hopefully this musical can recognize these problems and eradicate them from the finished product. I wish it well...


Beyoncé is not an ally. Actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Carter. #Dubai #$$$

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The Distinctive Baritone
#21Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 3:25pm

The Nerdist article says, “While in early folklore it was likely not initially tied to antisemitism, the feature is used in modern times to code characters as Jewish.” So basically, the author admits that big pointy noses being associated with witches had nothing to do with antisemitism when that originally became part of the mythology. You can’t retroactively decide that big pointy noses in witches are antisemitic.

One can point to literally any trait someone finds unattractive and find a way to twist it into some variation of “that’s racist!” 

Also, for the record, I have a big pointy nose, and rather like it. 
 

 

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AKarp2013
#22Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 5:35pm

I'm pretty sure that witches have been depicted with big pointy noises since the dawn of time. I can't wait for this. I grew up with Roald Dahl and love his work. In any case, I hope this skews more towards a Matilda scenario than a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory one.

Updated On: 9/4/23 at 05:35 PM

BETTY22
#23Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 6:00pm

I'm curious to see have this is handled. 

Dahl publicly admitting he was anti-Semitic shortly before his death. Anyone who has ever read any of his work didn't need the confirmation.

 

 

Ke3
#24Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 6:35pm

That author is incredibly wrong about the history of witches and antisemitism. Like ridiculously wrong. But it's The Nerdist so.

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The Distinctive Baritone
#25Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES musical by Malloy & Kirkwood to premiere this fall
Posted: 9/4/23 at 9:29pm

Ke3 said: "That author is incredibly wrong about the history of witches and antisemitism. Like ridiculously wrong. But it's The Nerdist so."

After a bit of web surfing, I have to admit that you are right. There is A LOT of connection between antisemitism and the mythology and imagery of witches throughout history. I stand corrected.