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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka’ opening this week in Waupaca

Critic At Large

Waupaca Community Theatre

Show image.

WAUPACA, Wis. (WFRV)

Waupaca Community Theatre will present six performances of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka” starting this week in Waupaca High School Performing Arts Center.

Performances are at 7 p.m. July 27, 2 p.m. July 28, 7 p.m. Aug. 1, 2, 3 and 2 p.m. Aug. 4. Info: fineartsfestival.org/waupaca-community-theatre/.

Music and Lyrics are by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley in the adaptation by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald.

Directing the local production is Tamara Jacquet.

The stage musical is a blend of the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

In the story, Willy Wonka tells the audience he plans to retire and must find a successor. Wonka hides five golden tickets in his candy bars distributed all over the world, creating a mad rush on candy shops by eager chocolate lovers to enjoy the rare experience of seeing Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Among the five lucky winners is Charlie Bucket, whose family is impoverished with a father laid off from his job and four bedridden grandparents. The Bucket family is too poor to buy Wonka bars at the feverish rate of other parents, but the family comes together to buy Charlie a candy bar for a birthday present – and Grandpa Joe sneaks him another one later – but neither provide a flash of gold.

It’s only when Charlie finds a silver dollar in the street and decides to chance buying a Wonka bar that he hits the jackpot. The other four golden ticket-holders are spoiled, insolent and rude, each meeting their just desserts in poetic fashion – always followed by a sing-song morality tale from the beloved Oompa-Loompas.

Before long, the only one who remains is Charlie, who also gave in to temptation but had the proper upbringing to admit he’d disobeyed the rules, leading to one last song from the Oompa-Loompas and the journey in the Great Glass Elevator.

The local production features Eric Conner as Willy Wonka and Claire Jacquet as Charlie Bucket. Waupaca Community Theatre began its association with the Waupaca Fine Arts Festival in 1979. It has been providing large-scale musical theater productions with a full orchestra for 21 years.

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