Weathervane Playhouse brings to life this classic retelling of Roald Dahl's "Willy Wonka," set to music by Anthony Newly and Leslie Bricusse. This story has captivated imaginations since the novel was written in 1964 and the beloved movie was released in 1971, starring Gene Wilder.
"We have tried to depict the story through the eyes of a child. I want to bring to life a child's imagination, just like the first time I heard the story read to me," said Director Sarah Elaine Bailey. "Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916, making this year his 100th Birthday. We are thrilled to celebrate by learning about his life and works throughout this rehearsal process. Our young actors have been researching and preparing for months to bring this wonderful story to life."
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka has a Broadway run set for next year and boasts the record for the highest weekly gross income in the West End of London.
At Weathervane, performers ages 7 to 17 create dreams of more candy than you could ever eat and becoming the owner of a candy factory. The score includes iconic songs "Candy Man", "Pure Imagination" and of course, many Oompa Loompas.
Charlie Gruhler, 16, a junior at Akron's Firestone High School, performs in the leading role of Willy Wonka and leads a group of five golden ticket winners through the Wonka Chocolate Factory.
"Having seen the movie and read the book, I was excited to portray this character," said Gruhler. "Willy Wonka is a delightfully charming and fun character, but also downright crazy. He ignores personal space, has a maniacal laugh at times and other very strange physical movements."
Stanley Niekamp, 11, a fifth-grader at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, plays Charlie Bucket. He is accompanied on his journey through the chocolate factory by Paul Cinko (Grandpa Joe), Henry Gruhler(Augustus Gloop), Kali Chapas (Mrs. Gloop), Giovanna Abucejo (Veruca Salt), Alden Munnerlyn (Mr. Salt), Lukas Cinko (Mike Teavee), Sierra Sneed (Ms. Teavee), Jill Klika(Violet Beauregarde) and Alexis Robles (Mrs. Beauregarde).
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka runs from July 29 to Aug. 14. Tickets are available at weathervaneplayhouse.com or by calling the box office at 330-836-2626.