Charlie and The Chocolate Factory The Musical

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Charlie and The Chocolate Factory The Musical – Review

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been wildly popular in its various book and film adaptations. The 1964 novel by exceptional children’s author Roald Dahl is still a popular seller fifty years after its release. Similarly, it has spawned two extremely successful film versions. The 1971 film starring Gene Wilder received an Academy Award and the 2005 Tim Burton remake was a box office hit. The stage musical opened in London’s West End to great critical praise in 2003 and is now moving to Broadway.

The musical follows Charlie Bucket, a young boy who lives with his impoverished parents and four grandparents. Charlie’s life is turned upside down when he finds one of five golden tickets that allow the holder to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Willy Wonka is a mysterious and whacky character whose chocolate inventions are out of this world. The other competition winners are ungrateful children who end up lost in the chocolate factory, leaving only Charlie and his grandpa with Wonka. Amazing theatrics and wild goings-on lead Charlie to win a prize beyond his wildest dreams.

The new Broadway production promises a visual spectacle and fantastic acting to audiences. What’s more, it integrates several changes from the West End version that will make it a new experience even for theater goers who saw it in London. It pledges itself as a more vibrant, colorful version of the darker UK production, revamped for US audiences. Of course, the show still contains fan favorite songs such as “Pure Imagination” and “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen”. Fans of the book, the films, and the London musical will find much to love in this promising new Broadway production.

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Charlie and The Chocolate Factory The Musical NYC

Theater: Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Duration: TBA
Starring: Christian Borle, Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust, Ryan Sell, John Rubinstein

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – Act I

The play opens with Charlie Bucket searching for valuables in a dump near his home. As he picks up candy wrappers, he speaks with a mysterious tramp, and heads home to his family (“Almost Nearly Perfect”). His home is a one-room shack under a railway arch. As he and his grandparents wait for their cabbage soup to boil, they tell Charlie about Willy Wonka (“The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka”). After Charlie’s father returns home dispirited from lack of work, Charlie pens a letter about chocolate, folds it into a paper airplane and sends it flying out into the night (“A Letter from Charlie Bucket”).


The next morning, Mrs. Bucket returns home from her night job and explains to the rest of the family that Willy Wonka is holding a competition where five lucky contestants must buy Wonka Bars to find a Golden Ticket to his factory and a lifetime’s supply of candy. Charlie is desperate to win one, but he has no money. On their homemade TV, they hear of the first Golden Ticket winner, an obese Bavarian boy named Augustus Gloop (“More of Him to Love”).

They soon learn that another ticket has been found by a spoiled British girl named Veruca Salt. Mr. Salt recounts how he won the ticket for his daughter (“When Veruca Says”). Charlie’s birthday arrives, and his grandparents give him a Wonka Bar, but are disappointed when there is no Golden Ticket. As he eats, they hear of the discovery of the third Golden Ticket, in Hollywood by wannabe gum-chewing celebrity, Violet Beauregarde. She and her father brag about how they will now be even more famous because of the Golden Ticket and how Violet is going to be the “biggest” diva ever (“The Double Bubble Duchess”). Shortly after, the TV announces another Golden Ticket discovery, Mike Teavee and the Teavee family. Mike is a violent and obnoxious bully who is addicted to television and video games, and whose frantic mother spoils him rotten and explains his hazardous activities and how he used Wonka’s password to get his Golden Ticket. (“It’s Teavee Time”).

With all but one ticket gone and no money to buy a bar, Charlie is desolate. His parents sing about how they wish they could raise their son together and about how they hope for a better life (“If Your Mother Were Here”). Winter comes, and one day Charlie finds some money dropped by a rich couple. Encouraged by the mysterious tramp, he buys a Wonka Bar, and finds a Golden Ticket inside that prompts Grandpa Joe to get out of bed and walk for the first time in forty years (“Don’t Ya Pinch Me, Charlie”). On the day they are to enter the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe feel out of place amidst all the hoopla on the red carpet. Finally, the moment of truth arrives. With a choral fanfare, the factory door swings open and all eyes to turn to see the mysterious Willy Wonka, invites the Golden Ticket winners into his factory to see all the wonders (“It Must Be Believed to Be Seen”).

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – Act II

Wonka gathers the ticket winners and explains the rules and regulations of the factory (“Strike That! Reverse It!”). With the contracts signed, Wonka then reveals a wonderful garden of candy delights. As the children explore this sugary wonderland, the bewildered adults ask Wonka what its purpose is and Wonka bemusedly explains that is his artwork (“Simply Second Nature”). Veruca breaks the reverie with a scream as Augustus is drinking from the waterfall, into which he falls. As he is sucked up the chocolate extraction pipe, the families look up to see dozens of tiny workers in red boiler suits called Oompa-Loompas, who make no effort to try and save Augustus (“Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop”).

With Augustus gone, Wonka is more concerned about the possible contamination of bones in his toffee. The party is shocked and mortified, but Wonka assures them that he’ll be fine. The next room is the Inventing Room, where white coated Oompa-Loompas mix and stir. Wonka gives each child an Everlasting Gobstopper, but Violet is unimpressed. Wonka shows her his latest creation, chewing gum which includes an entire 3-Course Dinner. When Violet sees the gum, she pops it into her mouth. Wonka warns her to stop chewing before dessert, but Violet ignores him and begins to turn purple and swell up like a giant blueberry. (“Juicy!”). Violet explodes in a shower of purple blueberry goo and glitter, but Wonka is unconcerned, sending Mr. Beauregarde to the Juicing Room, assuring that it can get her back to normal.

Wonka next leads the party on a high speed tour around the crazy corridors of his factory until, disoriented, they arrive at the Nut Room, where squirrels sort out nuts to see if they are good or bad. The good nuts are kept for them to eat while the bad nuts are thrown away down a rubbish chute. Veruca demands a squirrel. When Wonka refuses, she takes matters into her own hands, rushing to grab one for herself, instead she is judged a “bad nut”, and she and her father are sent down the rubbish chute (“Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet”). Again, Wonka assures the remaining visitors that Veruca and her father will be all right.

Wonka leads the group through dark cellars, where all his mistakes are kept, finally arriving at a room he calls, The Department of the Future. Wonka demonstrates Chocolate Television. Mike is intrigued and despite Wonka’s protests, he puts himself before the cameras, presses the remote and disappears in a puff of smoke. Mike hops from screen to screen until they finally pull him out, leaving him at only 6-inches tall. (“Vidiots!”). Mrs. Teevee is relieved as she won’t have to worry about him causing big problems any more, and she places him in her purse and leaves the factory quite satisfied.

Charlie is the only child left. When Grandpa Joe asks about their lifetime supply of confectionery sweets, Mr. Wonka casually dismisses them saying that the Everlasting Gobstopper Charlie had got was the lifetime supply of candy. Grandpa Joe is angry, but Charlie defuses the situation saying that an Everlasting Gobstopper is still an amazing present. When he leaves with Grandpa Joe, Charlie opens a book which contains all of Wonka’s ideas, adding a few of his own to the blank pages in the back. Wonka silently returns, and seeing Charlie’s additions, he tells him he’s won, inviting Charlie into his Great Glass Elevator so that he can show him his prize, the chocolate factory. (“Pure Imagination”).

They return to Earth where Wonka announces he’s leaving, and that Charlie is now in charge (“A Little Me”). He disappears, but as the Bucket family moves into the factory, Charlie sees the mysterious tramp outside the gates, who is revealed as Willy Wonka. As the Oompa-Loompas and Charlie wave goodbye from the factory windows, Wonka vanishes, singing a reprise of “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen”, leaving Charlie to ponder all of the adventures that are to come.


Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – Music – Act I

“Creation Overture” – Willy Wonka
“Almost Nearly Perfect” – Charlie Bucket
“The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka” – Grandparents
“A Letter from Charlie Bucket” – Charlie Bucket, Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket, Grandparents
“More of Him to Love” – Mrs. Gloop, Augustus Gloop, Mr. Gloop
“When Veruca Says” – Mr. Salt, Veruca Salt
“The Double Bubble Duchess”†† – Mr. Beauregarde, Violet Beauregarde, Ensemble
“It’s Teavee Time” – Mrs. Teavee, Mike Teavee
“If Your Mother Were Here” – Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket
“Don’t Ya Pinch Me, Charlie” – Charlie Bucket, Grandpa Joe, Grandparents, Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket
“It Must Be Believed to Be Seen” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – Music – Act II

“Strike That! Reverse It!” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
“Simply Second Nature” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
“Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop” – Oompa-Loompas, Willy Wonka
“Juicy!” – Oompa-Loompas, Willy Wonka
“Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet” – Oompa-Loompas
“Vidiots” – Oompa-Loompas, Willy Wonka, Mrs. Teavee
“Pure Imagination”† – Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket
“A Little Me” – Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, Oompa-Loompas, Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket, Grandparents
“It Must Be Believed to Be Seen (reprise)” – Willy Wonka

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