Chocolate lovers beware: ‘Willy Wonka’ is coming to town

The cast, above, is getting ready for Southington Community Theatre’s performance of “Willy Wonka” on June 14-15.

By SHERIDAN ROY

STAFF WRITER

The Southington Community Theatre has something sweet to share to kick off the summer. The group will perform two showings of Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka” at DePaolo Middle School June 14 and 15 starting at 7 p.m.

“‘Willy Wonka’ is such a fun performance,” said co-producer Mary Perlini. “It’s lighthearted, not too long, and is good, clean family fun.”

A cast of 39, ages nine to 60-plus, will portray the adventures experienced by Charlie Bucket on his visit to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory. The performance will feature enchanting songs from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder and new songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

“The board of directors review plays throughout the year, and as a board, we decided it was time to put on a musical,” said Perlini. “We had thrown around the idea of ‘Willy Wonka.’ It has a good ensemble that we can incorporate a lot of age groups to. It’s something familiar to people but at the same time, something new, fun and exciting.”

Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka” follows an enigmatic candy manufacturer as he stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy.

The cast practices the choreography.

Four of the five winning children are rude, spoiled and full of expectations. Charlie Bucket, a poor and sweet young boy, is the fifth winning child. The children must follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory, or suffer the consequences.

SCT began auditions in April and have been rehearsing since then. No person was turned away from participating. A handful of parent-child combinations added to the family-fun community theater experience.

“People who have never acted before just blew us away,” said Perlini. “There is such a wide range of people, ages and talent.”

One of the biggest challenges in taking on “Willy Wonka” was managing the many special effects shown in the original musical and in the movie.

“We can’t make someone disappear. We can’t create a chocolate river to throw someone down,” said Perlini. “We had to be creative, while keeping the integrity of the story.”

Tickets are $15 in advanced and $20 at the door. SCT encourages purchasing tickets in advanced, either online at southingtoncommunitytheatre.org or at Just For You Gift Shoppe (979 Meriden-Waterbury Rd., Plantsville) or at The Music Shop (405 Queen St.).

The show is directed by Jocelyn Perlini. Music is directed by Angela Klimaytis. Producers are Mary and Ed Perlini. For more information, visit SCT online, email southingtoncommunitytheatre@gmail.com or call (203) 558-1203.

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