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'Willy Wonka Jr.' opens Feb. 15 in Hudson

Willy Wonka, played by Isaac Verdoorn (left) warns Augustus Gloop, played by Emmanuel Hanson, flanked by Oompa Loompas Ellie Fraser and Jack Walter, New Richmond, that he should not taste the chocolate in the chocolate smelting room in ‘Willy Wonka Jr.,’ at The Phipps. The show premieres Feb. 15. Submitted photo

Roald Dahl's "Willy Wonka Jr.," with words and music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, adapted for the stage by Bricusse and Timothy A. McDonald, based on the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Dahl, will be performed by The Phipps Children's Theater Feb. 15 to March 3 at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

"Willy Wonka," is the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who wins the opportunity to tour the fantastic chocolate factory of the eccentric and mysterious Willy Wonka.

Music director Erin Maher comments, "The show is packed with music. It features many well-loved songs from the original 1971 film, like 'Pure Imagination,' 'The Candy Man,' 'Cheer Up, Charlie,' and 'I Want It Now,' along with new music that often features the beloved Bucket family, with songs like 'Think Positive' and 'Flying.'

"The cast does a fantastic job performing as kids in 'The Candy Man' and then transitioning to be the mysterious Oompa Loompas. Each ticket winner has a featured song, bringing a comical twist to their unique personality. Willy Wonka charms the audience with a variety of music that supports the twists and turns of the show."

Choreographer Mackenzie Heisler said, "I've had a blast working on this production, filled with dashes of whimsy, pinches of picturesque moments and loads of energy. For inspiration, I channeled the classic film, along with my own vision, to bring the story to life. A highly talented cast will draw in audiences young and old."

Director John H. Potter adds, "Our goal is to add an element of surprise as often as possible. I'm confident it will appeal to all ages."

Performances will be given on Feb. 15-March 3 on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. on the main stage.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, and $13 for students and youth. It is recommended for children age 4 and older. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at 715.386.8409 or online at ThePhipps.org.

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