Annandale High School
Come away for a little while at Centreville High School's production of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and you'll be transported to a world of pure imagination. Everywhere you look will be a world of their creation, and what you'll see is sure to defy explanation.
Based on Roald Dahl's 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its subsequent movie adaptation in 1971, Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka is a musical with a book by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald. The music and lyrics are by Bricusse and Anthony Newley, who had created the music for the 1971 movie.
In a world hooked by Willy Wonka's confectionery delights, an ecstatic frenzy is in the air when word comes that Wonka will be opening his gates to the 5 lucky recipients of Golden Tickets hidden in his chocolate bars. Charlie Bucket and his family, stricken with poverty, remain hopeful nevertheless for a glimpse of the elusive golden ticket. Unbeknownst to all, Wonka is looking for a successor to his chocolate empire, and Charlie might just be the perfect candidate.
Playing the titular showman Willy Wonka was Alexander Cox. Cox's charming tenor and gentle demeanor reflected Wonka's friendly personality, even as Cox showed the character's duality with a taunting lilt to his voice when ridiculing the behavior of the children or through his well-timed but subtle reactions to their social blunders.
Madelyn Regan exuded the cheerful optimism and untarnished spirit of Charlie Bucket with an almost cartoonish vigor. In Bucket's interactions with the other characters in songs like "Think Positive," her enthusiastic movement across stage and relentless energy translated into her cheery vocals, which were high in her range and conveyed Charlie's boyish youth, all without losing clarity.
As an ensemble, the children brought a refreshing exuberance to the stage, notably in songs such as "I've Got a Golden Ticket." In particular, Augustus Gloop (Gabriel Amiryar) and Veruca Salt (Katie Wood) showed an in-depth understanding of their characters, which enabled Amiryar's polished comedic timing with Augustus' bumbling character and Wood's natural-looking haughty gait and piercing voice for the spoiled Veruca.
Centreville's tech team effectively used their stage to represent the many different settings of the show. Lighting designed by Ronnie Sanders and Elisabeth Stuebner helped convey the nuances of each setting, such as the dim golden glow of the Buckets' little room and the bright blue expanse of the outside world. Their creative use of a shrinking spotlight on Wonka and the children to convey the shrinking of the room on their journey to Wonka's factory brought the audience into the magical experience. Another magical moment was the audience's favorite set piece. The bubble machines used to signify the Fizzy Lifting Drinks room brought a degree of audience interaction to the show that delighted the many children in the audience.
Costumes were led by Laura Mineo and were designed around colorful outfits that represented the children and their family as units, such as Mike Teavee and his mother's neon green motif. With many actors' quick changes, costuming ensured these transformations were smooth and seamless, notably Violet's off-stage transformation into the round inflatable blueberry costume.
Sound by Keshmin Curtusan created a dynamic audio balance, ensuring that all actors could be heard as individuals in their respective character moments, while maintaining a unity in ensemble songs.
Whisked away on a journey to a candy wonderland, Centreville's production of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka will surely leave viewers wishing they could reach through the stage to pluck a Scrumpdidilyumptious Fudge Mallow straight out of Wonka's hand, even as they pop the Fizzy Lifting Drinks floating above their heads.
Langley High School
As the Golden Gates of the chocolate factory open, a world of chocolate rivers and pink candy boats invites five unsuspecting children on the adventure of a lifetime. Centreville High School presents the whimsical tale of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, bringing pure imagination to the stage.
Originally based on the enchanting children's novel by Roald Dahl, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the imaginative story follows Charlie Bucket as he explores chocolatier Willy Wonka's magical factory along with four other children, only to discover the sinister twists Wonka has in store. The tale would later receive two film adaptations, one in 1971 starring Gene Wilder, and the second in 2005 starring Johnny Depp. With energetic music written by Leslie Bricusse, alongside clever lyrics by Anthony Newley, creating vibrancy to the original story.
Alexander Cox masterfully depicted the enigmatic chocolatier extraordinaire, the icon veiled in heaps of mystery and eccentricity, Willy Wonka. Cox effortlessly portrayed Wonka's mannerisms by gracefully moving in an effortless balletic-like manner despite the obvious turmoil. Cox put an unforgettable and unique spin on the enigmatic factory owner by coalescing witty banter with a cartoonish appearance. Not to mention, Cox's old-timey voice was put on full display in incredible numbers such as "Pure Imagination" and "There's No Knowing".
Charlie Bucket, the modest yet endearing final survivor of Wonka's chocolate factory, was illustrated by Madelyn Regan. Regan successfully emulated the poverty-stricken factory winner through meticulous detail of Charlie's mannerisms. In the musical number "Think Positive!" Regan's incredible voice soared throughout the entire stage and beyond. The voracious eater, Augustus Gloop (Gabriel Amiryar) was especially hilarious and remained flamboyant up until the very end. The garrulous gum chewer, Violet Beauregarde (Vanessa Baraza) was an absolute delight and humorously handled being blown up into a blueberry. The avarice drama queen herself, Veruca Salt (Katie Wood), was amazingly portrayed with sassy movements along with her piercingly accurate voice. The obstinate technology-obsessed Mike Teavee (Elliot Carreon) seamlessly created an accurate depiction of a child over-consumed with the vast world of gadgets and gizmos.
The Oompa Loompa performances were nothing short of spectacular, showcasing an incredible number of extravagant dances while still remaining perfectly in unison, displaying a remarkable level of attention to detail. Their unfaltering support for Willy Wonka was admirable as they were always seen by his side.
The lighting (Ronnie Sanders and Elisabeth Stuebner) constantly portrayed washes that supported the entire production and were always in sync with the events occurring on stage. The costumes (Laura Mineo and Emily Thomas) greatly reflected each character's diversity.
The captivating characters, enchanting world of candy, and impressive talents of the cast and crew created a super sweet production that was even more delicious than a Wonka Bar itself. Centreville High School's performance of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka surely was a treat worth savoring.