Submitted by Carol Kovach
OAKHURST – We have some amazing talent on this mountain. That’s just one of the comments made after watching the Golden Chain Theatre production of Willy Wonka the Musical. The show debuted on Saturday, Nov. 1 and it’s been getting great reviews ever since.
Tickets are available now, but only two more weekends remain to see this season’s don’t-miss musical. Willy Wonka the Musical is a stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, originally written by Roald Dahl, and also includes songs from the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Wonka is directed by James Mierkey and Jennifer Piccolotti, who are said to have outdone themselves with this one. The cast of almost 40, including many children, appear with colorful and imaginative sets and costumes. The production includes songs and dances, bringing to life Roand Dahl’s famous 1964 book.
Starring Minarets High School senior Lyric Piccolotti, 17, in the leading role previously made famous by film actors Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, Wonka also stars Geep Cummings, an 8th grader from Rivergold Elementary, in the much-loved role of Charlie.
The story unfolds as Charlie Bucket turns up to be a poor boy who works hard to bring back bread and money for his widowed mother, played by Jennifer Piccolotti. Grandpa Joe is portrayed by Roland Ott, while Charlie’s other three bedridden grandparents are Mary Helen Mierkey as Grandma Josephine, Ron Anderson as Grandpa George, and Jeri Barron as Grandma Georgina. Charlie can see and smell Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory from his small home, and that fuels the boy’s imagination.
One theater-goer wrote, “Wonka is a highly creative and technical production, including wireless mics and an audio visual component that really shows how much improvement has been made to the Golden Chain. Our friends from San Diego saw it and though that it was just as good a play as one would expect in a major city. I had no idea it would be so good.”
One day Wonka announces that he has hidden five Golden Tickets in his Wonka Bars. The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his factory, as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate to the “winner.” Charlie desperately wants to take part in the search, but due to his family’s poor state, he only receives one Wonka bar a year, on his birthday.
Four of the tickets are found by: Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt, a spoiled English girl; Violet Beauregarde, a gum-chewing American girl; and Mike Teevee, a video game-obsessed American boy.
Wonka’s appearance at the factory gates is greeted by an excited crowd, including the Golden Ticket holders. The story unfolds as Wonka’s ingenious inventions and candies, as well as his workers — the small, orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa-Loompas portrayed by many young actors — show Wonka’s ulterior motive. Each of the winners’ character flaws are revealed when they disobey Wonka’s rules.
Wonka opened at the Golden Chain on Nov. 1 and is running through Sunday, Nov. 23, Willy Wonka the Musical features performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m,, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at www.goldenchaintheare.org . Adults: $12, Seniors: $10, Children (4-12) $6, Students (13-18) $8