Staples Players Summer Theatre Presents "Willy Wonka"

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Wonka is coming to Westport!

Staples Players Summer Theatre proudly presents Roald Dahl’s beloved classic “WILLY WONKA”. Performances will take place in the mainstage theatre at Staples High School at 7pm on July 27th and 28th and at 2PM on July 28th and 29th.

Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Directors David Roth and Kerry Long chose the scrumdidilyumptious musical due to its timelessness and accessibility to audience members of all ages. Kerry Long says that “We're so excited to be doing a show that evokes so many great childhood memories for so many people. In talking with people about this show, it's amazing how many people had such vivid memories of seeing the movie for the first time. Many people burst into a chorus of "Candy Man" or "I've Got a Golden Ticket" upon hearing that we are working on WILLY WONKA”

David Roth adds that “This show is great because it gives you all of the great parts you remember about the movie and all of the wonderful songs (Candy Man, Pure Imagination, I've Got a Golden Ticket, I Want it Now, etc) and adds equally catchy songs from the same composers. They did a great job expanding it to a full length musical, but it's short enough that your little kids will sit through it!”

The cast is made up of high school and college students from Westport, Weston, Fairfield and Trumbull. Players Alumni Matthew Van Gessel (’11) returned from his freshman year at North Carolina School of the Arts to play Willy Wonka. Matthew explains that “What drew me to do Willy Wonka, other than the consistently excellent productions that Staples Players puts on was my longstanding, and rather unhealthy, obsession with Gene Wilder’s performance in the original film. He drips whimsy, and his eyes reveal a world weary man who somehow managed to never grow up. The opportunity totackle one of the most beloved and instantly recognizable characters ever etched in celluloid was more than appealing.”

To prepare for the role of Wonka, Matthew did his homework. “I drew inspiration from many sources, finding specific traits of Wonka that correspond with those of real life people. It was important to me that Wonka be a human with a soul rather than a silly weirdo. I drew from such real life eccentrics as Salvidor Dali, Howard Hughes, and Michael Jackson”

Maddy Rozynek (16) is one of the actresses playing Violet Beauregard and is also working hard to master traits that will make her character more believable. She explains “The biggest challenge in playing Violet is definitely conquering her southern accent. It isn't something that a person is able to pick up in one day, and requires a lot of extra time at home to practice. My double cast and I, and two other students playing our parents, were given cd's that trained us on how to talk with a southern accent. Even though it is summer, we still have to do our homework!”

Maddy thinks that audiences will love many aspects of the show but her favorite so far are the costumes created for the show by Marjorie Watt and Priscilla Stampa. She says that “My favorite part of the show would most likely be the costumes. They are extremely well made/put together. Both Marjorie and Priscilla (the costume ladies) and the entire costume crew took extremely large steps in creating costumes that reflect the costumes from the movie. And, they did it in a way that reflects the costumes from the movie perfectly. From the oompa loompas, to Willy Wonka himself, I am sure they will catch the audiences attention, and make the show even more memorable than it already is”

This is the third Staples Players summer show that Annabelle Shea (16) of Weston is performing in. Annabelle, who plays Veruca Salt, believes that kids will really enjoy the visual aspects of the show that technical director Peter Barbieri, Jr. and his team have put together. “I think kids will be really entertained and fascinated by all of the tech work and the set for the show. The kids will enjoy seeing all of the crazy room of Wonka's factory. For example, they'll see Charlie and Grandpa Joe float on air in the Fizzy Lifting Drink room, or all of the kids be crushed into a tiny room at the beginning of the show. The musical is very similar to the original movie so a lot of the

special effects in that movie are being brought to life on stage, which is really neat”.

Andrea Metchick is the choreographer for the show and Don Rickenback is the musical director.

Tickets are available for $10 for students and $15 for adults at

Staplesplayers.com and will also be available at the door, as available, 30 minutes prior to the show. Cash or checks only accepted at the door.

Please visit staplesplayers.com or call 203-341-1310 for more information and double cast performance schedules.


Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka

Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley with stage adaptation by Leslie Bricusse and Tim McDonald.  Based on the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. 


Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019. Phone: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684 www.MTIShows.com


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