The Union Recorder

February 21, 2014

Special performance of ‘Willy Wonka-’ a new take on a classic story


GCSU Communications

MILLEDGEVILLE — Imagine that Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka have been transported to Milledgeville, along with a wild new troupe of Oompa Loompas.

This fantasy world is coming to Russell Auditorium Feb. 26-March 2 in production of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” a musical staged by the Georgia College Department of Theatre, directed by Dr. Amy Pinney with musical direction by Dr. Wendy Mullen. The play was originally adapted from the classic 1964 Dahl novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 2004.

“This musical is based on the book and is not a recreation of either movie about Willy Wonka,” said Pinney. She also added that the cast will interact with the audience at times during the production.

“There is going to be a lot of shock and awe,” said Zachary Bradford, who plays the role of Grandpa Joe. “Very much a spectacle.”

The cast and crew went through a rigorous “boot camp” rehearsal before spring semester began and have been rehearsing six days a week ever since.

“Our stars, Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe are so great,” said Halley Bowman, a junior who plays Augustus Gloop. “There is so much energy. It is going to be incredible.”

Freshman Nich Stinson plays Charlie Bucket and senior David Dingess is the towering 6-foot-5 Wonka. .

Although the plot revolves around golden tickets hidden in Wonka’s chocolate bars, the sweets are not the point of the musical.

 “This show is not about candy – the story is about Charlie Bucket,” Pinney said. “The exceptional thing about Charlie is that he chooses to do the right thing and it happens over and over.”

One particularly big departure from the movies is the casting of the Oompa Loompas.

“I cast the most courageous actors as the Oompa Loompas and they developed their own personalities, from Punk Rock Oompa to Protest Oompa,” said Pinney.

The play will be showcased Feb. 26 through March 1 at 8 p.m. A matinee will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2.

Tickets are $16 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens, Georgia College faculty and staff and non-Georgia College students, and $7 for Georgia College students.

Also in celebration of the performance, Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar Leon Johnson and his guest chef Jonathan Kung will cook up some special chocolate and hold a presentation Feb. 26 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Campus Black Box Theatre.

Additionally, Dr. Myron Avila who teaches Spanish at Georgia College will speak on the cocoa bean. They will do this to contextualize and celebrate the theatre department’s production.”

For tickets, visit www.GCSUTickets.com.