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WHS presenting 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' this week

wo performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Memorial Auditorium

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Charlie Bucket (left, played by Charlie Brands) hands a golden ticket to Willy Wonka (Matthew Bartley) as Oompa Loompas (back, left to right) watch in this scene from the Worthington High School theatrical production of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." (Ryan McGaughey/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The perfect golden ticket to sweeten up December may be for a seat at the Worthington High School production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Staged at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, this 65-minute show is an ideal confection for everyone from 3 to 93, according to director Jon Loy.

“This is appropriate for people of all ages,” assured Loy. “Both kids and adults will be entertained by it.

“’Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ has a lot of great messages that kids hear about through watching the different characters, but there’s also ingenious script writing that engages adults.”

A 37-student cast is tackling the lone stage adaptation of British author Roald Dahl’s roaringly successful 1964 novel that has Dahl’s personal stamp of approval.

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“This version, dramatized by Richard R. George, is the only one Roald Dahl approved outside of his own writings,” shared Loy.

“It’s a play, but we’ve incorporated some of the music from the original [1971 movie starring Gene Wilder] soundtrack so you may recognize more of what you’ve come to love when thinking about Willie Wonka and Charlie Bucket.”

With a full complement of Oompa Loompas and troublesome attack squirrels, the play features earnest Charlie Bucket (freshman Charlie Brands) on his adventurous trip with his Grandpa Joe (senior Kalen Brands) to the mysterious chocolate factory operated by Willie Wonka (senior Matthew Bartley).

Bucket won the chance for a tour of the magical factory when he scored a golden ticket in a bar of chocolate, as did four other children (Augustus Gloop, portrayed by Alex Quintanilla; Violet Beauregarde, acted by Kalea Appel; Veruca Salt, depicted by Katie O’Donnell; and Mike Teavee, brought to life by Oziel Briones Flores).

“Matthew is doing a really nice job as Willie Wonka,” credited Loy. “And Katie and Kalea have been in each play throughout their high school years.

“In fact, nearly 65 percent of our cast members are seniors, so there are a lot of experienced players involved.”

The concepts of greed, self-control, over-indulgence (whether of food or technology) and appreciation for others are explored through the characters of Bucket, Teavee, Beauregarde, Salt and Gloop.

“Each character eventually discovers the true meaning of teamwork, self-confidence and self-esteem,” said Loy.

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“As Matthew is portraying Willie Wonka, he’s a patient man who’s excited to open the doors to his factory once again in the hope that he’ll find someone he can turn the operation over to,” Loy continued.

“And ultimately, Willie Wonka sees a lot of himself in Charlie.”

Narrators (Addison Wass, Logan Immens, Cadence Christian, Nedoh Gyi and Jacob Mills) provide the background of the action.

“The narrators are very fun,” promised Loy. “They take us through the journey of the storyline and they, coupled with the Oompa Loompas, help move the story forward.”

Working with Loy to enliven the production are student production assistants Misti Dieter and Jeffrey Ludes, costume designer Pam Wendland, lighting and sound designer Mark Brodin and set/prop designer Judie Wendt-Johnson.

“We’ve all worked well together as a team for several years,” said Loy of his adult technical assistants.

“And despite a short production schedule, everyone’s worked really hard,” he said, adding that nearly 20 students are involved with the set and/or backstage crew.

“They’ve been wonderful in showing their creative sides and taking Judie’s lead as she mentors them about colors and ways to create the different rooms in the factory.”

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Wendt-Johnson’s vision of the famous glass elevator combines with Brodin’s lighting skills to arrive at imagery designed to give the impression the contraption is truly traveling, Loy said.

“With all the new technology Memorial Auditorium has, there are so many capabilities available for making it all seem magical to the audience,” said Loy.

Oh — and don’t forget the golden tickets!

“There will be five lucky golden ticket winners at each show,” promised Loy.

“But every member of the audience will love this production and the colorful set designs that come with it.”

Worthington High School’s production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13 th St., Worthington. All seats are reserved, although District 518 activity passes and District 518 student IDs will be honored and tickets must be obtained at the box office for those using passes or IDs. For tickets, visit the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, call 376-9101, or visit friendsoftheauditorium.com. The box office opens one hour prior to each show.

Related Topics: THEATER
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