A beloved children's film, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder, comes alive at this weekend when the Summer Teen Theater stages the musical stage version, called “Willy Wonka.”
Directed by David Roth and Kerry Long, performances of “Willy Wonka” are Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28 at 8:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29 at 2:00 pm.
Staples' Junior Will Haskell is excited to portray Charlie Bucket, the loveable young boy who finds the much-coveted Golden Ticket in a Wonka candy bar and is invited to tour Wonka's infamous candy factory. “I have always loved the Gene Wilder movie and I think it makes an absolutely wonderful show,” Will said. “It was simply made to be converted to the stage. The show is a lot of fun and I have had so much fun exploring the amazing adventure of Charlie Bucket.”
His favorite song in the show is “Pure Imagination.”
Kerry said that whenever she's told adults about producing “Willy Wonka” this summer, she hears nothing but positive comments. “The show evokes many great childhood memories for so many people,” Kerry said.
Everyone seems to be familiar with the musical's well-known score, including “The Candy Man” and “I've Got A Golden Ticket,” which is the Act 1 Finale.
Johnny Shea, of Fairfield, who plays Grandpa Joe, said 'I've Got A Golden Ticket' is a rousing, upbeat song and dance number. “It's joyful and exciting,” Johnny stated. “When Charlie finds the fifth and last golden ticket, Grandpa Joe is liberated after years and years of a bedridden lifestyle, finding the hope and courage to get out of bed and live once again. This number, like so many in the show, is very cheerful and always puts a smile on my face.”
Last summer Johnny delivered a stellar performance as Jesus of Nazareth in Staples' production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” This fall he will study theater at Ithaca College.
“The quality of the Staples Players’ productions is excellent,” he continued. "Everyone is so involved in the production from top to bottom. 'Willy Wonka' is an extremely challenging technical show, but the effort of the creative team is great. Rehearsal is always fun to go to at Staples because everyone is so hardworking and ready to learn. Whether it is painting a set piece, working on props, or rehearsing a scene, I find that I learn something new every day.”
Audiences can expect to see many of the same magical moments from the film, such as Charlie and Grandpa Joe's defying gravity scene, in this weekend's show. Marjorie Watt and Priscilla Stampa's elaborate, colorful costumes for all of the characters, including the Oompah-Loompahs, will not disappoint. They've been costuming Staples Players for several years and consistently add to the production's overall high-quality. Andrea Metchick is the choreographer for the show and Don Rickenback is the musical director.
The cast is comprised of high school and college students from Westport, Weston, Fairﬁeld and Trumbull.
Tickets for "Willy Wonka" 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 www.staplesplayers.com or call 203-341-1310 for more information and double cast performance schedules.