Theater Works indulges sweet tooth with ‘Willy Wonka’ - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Theater Works indulges sweet tooth with ‘Willy Wonka’

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Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:30 pm

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” comes to life on stage out of the pages of Roald Dahl’s novel.

Theater Works’ Kids Alive program presents this musical adaptation of the book and film, which opens May 31 at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts and features a cast of 40 children.

Athena Hunting, director of the show, said she’s excited about the production.

“It’s going to be a spectacle with all the bells and whistles,” Hunting said. “The Oompa Loompas are so green and orange that it’s so cool.”

Hunting said “Willy Wonka” showcases Kids Alive, a program that has been in existence for a couple of years.

Kids Alive is a performance troupe for 6- to 13-year-olds. Members of the group must audition and perform at several public events, including a major production at Theater Works.

“This is a wonderful way to introduce children to the magic of theater,” Hunting said. “And you can’t get any better than doing this particular story.”

The show tells the story of a poor boy, Charlie Bucket, as he receives a golden ticket and visits Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with four other children from around the world. This version is based on the 1971 Gene Wilder film and features the songs “Golden Ticket,” “Candy Man,” “Pure Imagination,” “Oompa Loompa Song” and “I Want It Now.”

In addition to the classic film, many might remember the recent Tim Burton version with Johnny Depp as the title character.

“Here’s you’re opportunity to see it all live on stage right before your eyes,” Hunting said.

Hunting said she’s excited about the cast, which has been triple cast for the run of the production.

“We really want to give everyone the chance to perform,” Hunting said. “It’s such a colorful story and cast of characters that this show will help many of my actors grow as performers.”

In conjunction with “Willy Wonka,” three lucky winners at each performance will receive VIP passes to Cerreta Candy Company in Glendale.

They’ll have a tour of the candy company, which is a sponsor of the production. Everyone who attends the musical gets a free sample of Cerreta’s chocolate mint.

“We have something for the whole family to enjoy, and you get to see these young people perform a classic, fun tale,” Hunting said.

Mitchell Vantrease may be reached at 623-876-2526 or

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