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Get your Golden Ticket to ‘Willy Wonka’

Members of the Green Earth Players in Luverne practice Saturday in preparation for their rendition of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” premiering this Friday. Erin Trester/Daily Globe

LUVERNE — Chocolate, Oompa-Loompas and a golden ticket appear in the upcoming spring play for Green Earth Players.

You guessed it, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” will be coming to the Palace Theater on Friday through Sunday and March 28-30. Friday and Saturday performances will start at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.

“The board actually picked for the spring show to be Willy Wonka, but I think that’s because we get to cast a lot of the kids and there’s a lot of music involved so those kind of shows are always well received,” said artistic director Brenda Winter.

The 42 cast members include nine dancers, nine Oompa-Loompas, four squirrels, a few ticket winners and -- of course -- familiar names like Willy Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe.

“This rendition of ‘Willy Wonka’ is different from the movie because it has more of a Broadway feel to it,” Winter explained. “There’s a lot of breaking out into song and dance numbers.”

Lynette Hoiland, the musical director, explained some of the zany casting that went on to put on the show.

“We have different age groups in the play,” she said. “I mean, we have teenagers playing grandparents. We’ve just been saying, ‘Hey, if people think it’s weird, it’s Willy Wonka! It’s supposed to be weird.”’

Gunnar Oldre, 11, will be playing the role of Augustus Gloop and is gung-ho about the part.

“This has been a fun show to do so far and I love to act,” Oldre said. “it’s kind of a family thing; we all love acting.”

Hannah Ehlers, 12, is playing the role of Matilda, a schoolmate of Charlie’s.

“I’ve always acted, too, and I’m one of the youngest Green Earth Players with lines, so I’m really excited about that,” she said.

Both described the show’s auditioning process.

“They would say things like, ‘Say this line, but in the meanest most possible way you can,’” Oldre said.

“They also would make us do random dancing and singing, but it was so much fun,” Ehlers added.

Practices have run from 6 to 8 p.m. a few times a week, and the cast is almost ready to practice the show in its entirety.

“Soon we’ll be practicing the show the whole way through,” Winter said. “The help we’ve received has been amazing, though. Costumes, makeup, props, ticket sales, and parents driving their kids back and forth from practices — it takes a lot of people to do something like this,” she added.

Folks from southwest Minnesota and beyond are invited to come and see the show.

“This isn’t just for the Luverne community,” Winter said. “We want everyone to come from all over.”

Tickets are still available by calling Carnegie Cultural at (507) 283-8294.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
(507) 376-7322