By now, most of the adults in the audience at least, have either read the book by Roald Dahl or the 3 different movies, with the 1971 one starring Gene Wilder which was called "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", has now become a classic. It wouldn't surprise me if many of the kids in theatre have either had it read to them or read it themselves.
With music from the Wilder film, written by Leslie Bricusse and Tony Newly, and new additional music by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, this version gives equal time to Charlie and Willy in both song and stage time.
For a fresh reminder the story is about Willy Wonka, looking for someone to take over his chocolate factory, who has a contest with 5 winning tickets hidden in chocolate bars with the prize being a tour of the factory. The first four winners are: Veruca Salt, bratty ballerina played by Angela Palladini, obese Augustic Gloop played by Sam ST. Jean, gum chewer, future pop star Violet Beauregard played by Zakiya Baptiste and Matthew Boyd Snyder as small screen addict Mike Tevee. Each has an almost obnoxious parent along as their adult companions with Mrs. Teavee, played by Katie Fay Francis as a standout!
Then there is Charlie Bucket who is being raised by a single mother, played and sung beautifully by Caitlin Lester-Sams, and they live with his 4 grandparents. Due to his mother having to work when Charlie wins the last ticket his grandfather Joe, played by Steve McCoy, who is a joy on stage and I was wishing him and Charlie would have more time and songs together.
Ryan Umbarila played Charlie at tonight's performance and you couldn't have asked for more from his acting, singing and dancing as he held his own on stage including Cody Garcia's Willy Wonka.
Mark Thompson's scenic designs along with Jeff Sugg's projection designs are a constant moving kaleidoscope showing more than your mind can comprehend at one look.
The familiar songs like "The Candy Man", "I've Got A Golden Ticket", "Pure Imagination" along with "It Must Be Believed To Be Seen", "If Your Father Were Here" and "The View From Here" are a major part of the book by David Greig.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" will be playing at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami until and including Sunday January 5th before continuing on tour and is a good way to end the 'holiday' season!