‘Matilida’ Tops a Long List of Events at Surflight Theatre

The Musical Won Five Tony Awards and 85 More Internationally
By Rick Mellerup | Aug 07, 2019

Beach Haven — It’s the peak of the tourist season on LBI and Surflight Theatre’s schedule is almost as crowded as the Island.

On Tuesday the curtain rose on Surflight’s fourth mainstage musical of the season, “Matilda.” Based on the children’s novel of the same name by the British writer Roald Dahl and adapted for the stage by Brit Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Aussie Tim Minchin, “Matilda,” produced by the Royal Shakespeare Co., was a critically acclaimed hit on both sides of the Pacific and, especially, the Atlantic. All in all “Matilda” has won 90 awards throughout the world.

The show’s title character is a book-loving, intelligent, imaginative and feisty 5-year-old who doesn’t allow stodgy and sometimes downright evil grownups to destroy her spirit. Her mother and father, a used car salesman, mock Matilda for her love of books. Mr. Wormword prefers television: 

Somewhere, on a show, I heard

That a picture tells a thousand words.

So telly, if you bothered to take a look,

Is the equivalent of, like... lots of books!

Mr. Wormwood is obviously a dolt. But to see how depraved some adults can be you have to consider Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress at Matilda’s school. She locks disobedient children into a “Chokey,” a cupboard lined with sharp objects, for hours!

Luckily Matilda has a friend in her teacher, Miss Honey. She also has telekinetic powers, and uses them in her battle of wills with Trunchbull.

“Matilda” will run through Aug. 25. Tickets are $39 for adults and $29 for children 12 years of age and younger. Anybody who is familiar with Dahl knows this is a show both adults and children will enjoy.

On Sunday, Aug. 11, at 8:30 p.m. comedian Mike Marino, a.k.a. New Jersey’s Bad Boy, will make his third Surflight appearance as part of his Make America Italian Again tour. It makes sense Surflight books Marino again and again – observant drivers, bike riders and runners know the second most popular flag on LBI behind the Red, White and Blue is the Red, White and Green of Italy.

Jon Bramnick, billed as “New Jersey’s Funniest Lawyer,” will also appear. Bramnick happens to be the New Jersey General Assembly Republican leader. Hey, the people who think Trenton is a joke may be right!

Tickets for the show are $29.50 and this is no joke – they are selling fast!

Not as fast, however, as they did for “An Evening with the Stars: The Edwards Twins,” which will hit the Surflight stage on Monday, Aug. 12. Both the 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows are already sold out. The twins, Eddie and Anthony, are celebrity impersonators, with Eddie specializing in female stars while his identical brother handles more than 75 male characters. They have devised 23 different shows, so folks who have seen them before and were lucky enough and quick enough to get tickets for this show will see fresh material. Those who were shut out will likely have another chance to see the Edwardses next summer. As Surflight Producing Artistic Director Steve Steiner joked, “For the next 22 years we’re going to have a different show.”

Meanwhile Surflight’s children’s theater program keeps chugging along. It will be producing “The Little Mermaid” at 6 each evening from Wednesday, Aug. 7, through Sunday, Aug. 11. Tickets for both adults and kids are $12.

Tickets for all of the aforementioned shows can be purchased online at surflight.org, by phone at 609-492-9477, or at the box office, located at 201 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven.

Finally, Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, adjacent to the theater, is getting into the act on Monday, Aug. 12, at 4 p.m. when it hosts a Hawaiian themed ice cream social featuring characters such as Moana and Maui. Tickets are $20 per person and cover an ice cream sundae, a choice of soda, water, juice, coffee or tea, songs, games and dancing led by the characters and a meet and greet after the show.

Show Place will be open every evening through Labor Day, with its singing and dance wait staff performing shows hourly from approximately 6 p.m. until a final seating at 11 p.m. (folks should arrive 15 to 20 minutes before each show to secure a place in line). Show Place performances include singing, dancing, skit humor and audience participation while showbiz-themed ice cream sundaes such as the Annie Get Your Gun, the Singin’ in the Rain, the Hello Dolly and the Phantom of the Opera are served. There’s no charge for the show; your only obligation will be to order an ice cream treat with a $7 minimum. Reservations may be made for groups of 15 or more. Birthday parties for groups of 25 or more may be arranged during the afternoon, with ice cream and pizza options available. Call 609-467-5311 to make reservations or arrange for a party.

Rick Mellerup


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