A few months ago, my friend Tracy and I decided to mortgage our homes and take our children to see Matilda at the Kennedy Center. We had fantastic seats, which turns out was an even better choice than I initially thought. Prior to entering the theater, there was a warning, mentioning that in Matilda - people talk loudly and in strange accents, and perhaps the audience-goer might like to check out the Kennedy Center's assisted listening devices. They also had printed out sheets with the lyrics to several songs (which were useless because the theater is dark - and though I thought about lighting Helen's sheet with my phone, I decided this was just too gauche).
I later learned, that the Washington Post reviewer had this to say about the acoustics of Matilda:
"... the hall’s sound system or acoustics are so atrocious that they have the capability of transforming merrily expectant theatergoers into embittered Scrooges. I know that I am not alone in my belief that the biggest of the Kennedy Center’s performance spaces needs a thorough rethinking on how it handles large-ensemble musicals, because virtually every time one materializes there, I receive emails from people who have emptied their wallets for the show, only to discover they’ve paid to hear half the lyrics — at best."
Thankfully, we could hear just fine.
And oh, wow, was it amazing. There is something different about a first-run touring cast. It was as good as Broadway. I was in heaven. A few days before the show, I had pulled out a few songbooks and Helen and I had been crooning away. I'm looking forward to getting a copy of the score for this show so we can enjoy some more time with the piano.
It's been awhile since we made it to a full-length musical, and though Connor was once my willing theater buddy, it's not his first choice activity these days. But he didn't want to miss out on this experience, and I was delighted to take my seat between both of my children.