Theatre audiences all over just won a golden ticket!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which opened on Broadway last week, will now spread its chocolatey goodness around the country. Producers Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions, and Neal Street Productions have announced that the musical will receive a national tour, commencing in September of 2018 and is currently holding dates into the summer of 2020.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a popular book by the creative (and deliciously dark) children’s author Roald Dahl, tells the story of a little Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who dreams of nothing more than visiting the local chocolate factory of Mr. Willy Wonka. He suddenly finds his wish coming true when he wins a golden ticket, hidden inside a candy bar, that gives him entry into the surreal and fascinating venue. Along with four other kids, their parents, and his Grandpa Joe, Charlie gets a mysterious, marvelous, and sometimes frightening tour led by Mr. Wonka himself, delving deep into the secrets of the factory’s magic.
The Broadway production currently stars two-time Tony-winner Christian Borle (Falsettos, Something Rotten!) as Willy Wonka. Hairspray team Marc Shaiman (music) and Scott Wittman (lyrics) provide the show’s new music and lyrics, and the book is by David Grieg (Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre). The production is directed by Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), with choreography Joshua Bergasse (Sweet Charity). The cast also features John Rubinstein (Pippin), Emily Padgett (Side Show), Jackie Hoffman (The Addams Family), and the role of “Charlie” is rotated through three young actors: Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust, and Ryan Sell.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made into a film in 1971 starring Gene Wilder. Titled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it features a score by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley (Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd), including “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man” which have both found their way into the current Broadway production. Thought it wasn’t a hit upon its initial release, the film gained cult-status over the years and has now become a popular staple of family film musicals. In 2005, Tim Burton directed another film version titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street).
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theatre and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.