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The wonder of ‘Willy Wonka’

The mischievous Oompa-Loompas are the workers for Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. They're the only ones he trusts with the job, and they are paid in their favorite food, cacao beans. Photos by Scott Steele.

The mischievous Oompa-Loompas are the workers for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. They’re the only ones he trusts with the job, and they are paid in their favorite food, cacao beans. (Click to enlarge photo.) Photos by Scott Steele.

The strange and creative Willy Wonka, played by Alex Hanson, stirs up plenty of interest with his golden ticket giveaway. He draws in competing families to inherit his factory because he is getting too old to keep running it.

The strange and creative Willy Wonka, played by Alex Hanson, stirs up plenty of interest with his golden ticket giveaway. He draws in competing families to inherit his factory because he is getting too old to keep running it. (Click to enlarge photo.)

Bartlett youths kept the onstage fun flowing last weekend with multiple performances of “Willy Wonka — The Musical.” The production ran March 23-26 at the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka followed enigmatic candy manufacturer, Willy Wonka, as he staged a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Ticket holders won a free tour of the Wonka factory and a lifetime supply of candy.

Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats. The fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket, who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory or suffer the consequences.

The BPACC TheatreKids production featured local youths in grades 6-12. Participants paid $100 tuition and committed to eight weeks of practice to make the performances as polished as possible. The cast included:

  • Willy Wonka (Alex Hanson)
  • Candy Man (Luke Dabney)
  • Phineous Trout (Macy Garrett)
  • Charlie Bucket (Conner McCandless)
  • Mrs. Bucket (Caroline Herz)
  • Grandpa Joe (Zach Baker)
  • Augustus Gloop (Victor Gasior)
  • Mrs. Gloop (Maranda Mays)
  • Veruca Salt (Meg McVay)
  • Mike Teavee (Nick Shelhamer)
  • Ms. Teavee (Sarah Cornelison)
  • Violet Beauregarde (Katlyn Young)
  • Mrs. Beauregarde (Isabella Osborne)
  • Grandma Josephine (Maggie Norris)
  • Grandma Georgina (Abigail Herz)
  • Grandpa George (Aric Lemont)
  • James (Luke Freeman)
  • Matilda/Camera Person (Emily Coates)

Ensemble members included:

  • Cooks and kids: Luke Freeman, Emily Coates, Aurora Ahlstrom, Kennedy Alexander and Callan Woelfel
  • Oompa-Loompas and squirrels: Shawn Abel, Kayla Blalock, Matthew Brooks, Dixie Burns, Hunter Carter, Olivia Doyle, Kimani Fisher, Amy Lemont, Carys Pitman, Susan Rodriguez and Abby Shook
  • Understudies: Luke Dabney for Willy Wonka, Olivia Doyle for the Candy Man, Maggie Norris for Charlie Bucket, Carys Pitman for Phineous Trout, Kayla Blalock for Mrs. Bucket, Aric Lemont for Mr. Bucket, Hunter Carter for Grandpa Joe, Matthew Brooks for Augustus Gloop, Emily Coates for Mrs. Gloop, Amy Lemont for Veruca Salt, Kimani Fisher for Mr. Salt, Shawn Abel for Mike Teavee and Abby Shook for Ms. Teavee

The director was Carrie Paulo (a teacher at Bartlett 9th Grade Academy); the musical director, Dr. Jemmi-Lou Rye-Rushing; the choreographer, Mr. Otis; and the stage manager, Jessica Gibbs. BPACC Property Designer Lisa Johnson was also involved with the production.

Hampton Inn & Suites was the production’s sponsor.

The cast and ensemble responsible for "Willy Wonka - The Musical" last weekend took a smooth bow for their curtain call.

The cast and ensemble responsible for “Willy Wonka — The Musical” last weekend took a smooth bow for their curtain call. (Click to enlarge photo.)


Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138, carolyn.bahm@journalinc.com or bartlett.editor@journalinc.com.

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