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Review

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
by STAR Repertory Theatre

THE SHOW:  

Lyrics and Music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald, and based on the book “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl.  

Without the singular imagination and storytelling of Roald Dahl, we’d never know about the Oompa Loompas, Whangdoodles, or Vermicious Knids. Nowadays everyone’s heard of a snozzberry. And without the music makers and dreamers of the dreams like Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, there wouldn’t be the classic musical film adaptation of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder as the mysterious candyman whose factory has captivated children for more than forty years. The stage production skips the film’s everlasting gobstopper corporate espionage subplot and a few classic lines, but it includes some good new tunes and all the old tunes like Pure Imagination and The Candyman. Not to mention all Roald Dahl’s unforgettable characters and the magic of Wonka’s chocolate factory still kindling the imagination of children of all ages.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

STAR Repertory Theatre always adds creativity and clever ways to give their young performers more opportunities to shine and learn on stage, and directors Chris Bona and Scott Kolod’s production at the California Center of the Arts in Escondido begins with a pre-show featuring the show’s reporter Phoebe conducting television interviews (video camera connected to a projector, thereby televising the stage interviews). The show is triple-cast, and in this "Whipple-Scrumptious" cast it’s nine-year-old Elianna Vazquez interviewing young members of the audience, introducing many to their first time on stage, Elianna asking questions and doing a bit of improv with replies and follow-up questions, never knowing quite what to expect. When Elianna asked one interviewee what she wanted to be when she grew up, the very young girl answered hopefully, “I want to be Hello Kitty.”  

As the eccentric Mr. Willy Wonka, Jeffrey Yarush takes delight in dishing out the teasing on his peculiar bunch of Golden Ticket winners. Golden Ticket Winner #5 Charlie Bucket is Jeffrey’s real-life younger brother Michael Yarush who perks up his dejected, recently laid off father Mr. Bucket (Riley Fisher) with gusto in their duet Think Positive, and he’s thrilled with his Golden Ticket and awed by the chocolate factory. The other golden ticket winners include Yuliana Rocio as Augustus (singing I Eat More with Mrs. Gloop/Natalie Honn), Gabe Rasmussen as gizmo-addicted Mike Teavee, Madelyne Quiroz as sassy, gum-obsessed Violet, and Sydney Olson who is a delightful spoiled brat singing I Want It Now and has a remarkably effective, ear-piercing scream when her wants are thwarted.  

The Bucket family delivers great performances featuring Mr. Bucket and Mrs. Bucket (Lexie Machado) along with Charlie’s humorous grandparents (Jonathan Garis, Madison Smits, Skyler Shortley, and Brodi Treadway) who play off each other extremely well. Anastasia Raymond brings terrific charisma and vocals to the Candyman. The young Oompa Loompas shine with their big finale morality lesson on television overdosing, and Ofelia Slugworth (Lillian Broschart) and the cast kick it all off with The Golden Age of Chocolate. They do it all amongst some cool and clever sets for the factory that at times includes some of the cast as set pieces including kids costumed as M&Ms, candy canes, and gumball machines in that place of Pure Imagination – The Chocolate Room.  

Performed October 24 - 27, 2013

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Whipple-Scrumptious Cast ~ 

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Willy Wonka: Jeffrey Yarush
Charlie: Michael Yarush
Ofelia: Lillian Broschart
Candyman: Anastasia Raymond
Phoebe: Elianna Vasquez
Veruca: Sydney Olson
Violet: Madelyne Quiroz
Mike: Gabe Rasmussen
Augustus: Yuliana Rocio
Mrs. Bucket: Lexie Machado
Mr. Bucket: Riley Fisher
Mrs. Teavee: Kailey Walton
Mrs. Gloop: Natalie Honn
Mrs. Salt: Lindsey Rappaport
Mrs. Beauregard: Ashlyn Fitzpatrick
Grandpa Joe: Jonathan Garis
Grandma Josephina: Madison Smits
Grandma Georgina: Skyler Shortley
Grandpa George: Brodi Treadway
Kaiden: Drew Norman
Karen: Abby White
Kat: Catalina Zelles
Matilda: Reynna Saavedra
Jamie: Lily Self
Jazzy: Payton Rolfe
Jean: Sadie Smits
Jo: Crista Wilmot
Jewels: Georgia Harper
Tiffi: Haley Adams
Taffi: Ainsleigh McKinlay
Tuffi: Sadie Smits
Toofi: Megan Kolod
Squirrels:
Kinsey Bush
Genevieve Olson
Abigail McKinlay
Oompa Loompas:
Shelbie Van Slyke
Shayla Farwell
Melody White
Elly Rasmussen
Julia David
Savannah Farmer
Coral Bestmann
Devyn Bolger
Ashley Magrath
Makenna Vogel
Kate Bentley
Ensemble:
Adurey Deubig
Azriel Almera
Sabreena Saavedra
Francisco Pina
Sophia Smits
Ben Garon
Lily Arvizu
Mackenzie Bivin
Peyton O'Neill
Jillian Fortner

Directors: Chris Bona & Scott Kolod
Musical Director: Ryan Burtanog
Choreographer: Ashley Stringfield


   

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