QUINCY — The tale of a special chocolate factory and its magical owner comes to the stage in Quincy next weekend. The Quincy Valley Allied Arts production of “Willy Wonka” opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Chuck McConnell Performing Arts Center at Quincy High School, 16 Southeast Sixth Ave.
The show runs for two weekends, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24. A matinee is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 25.
“It is a universal favorite,” said director Eric Van Woert.
The play is based on the 1964 book “Charlie and Chocolate Factory,” by British author Roald Dahl and the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” with some new material added.
The play tells the story of the Willy Wonka's fantastic, maybe even magical, chocolate factory, where chocolate bars keep coming out, but nobody ever goes in. Young Charlie Bucket (Taylor Street in the QVAA production) is fascinated by the factory, where his dad used to work when there were workers.
Then comes an announcement that causes great excitement among kids everywhere. Willy Wonka (Adam Zaleski) is going to let five kids inside the factory. The passport inside is a golden ticket, hidden inside five chocolate bars.
Miraculously Charlie is one of the five; the other four – well, those kids are little brats. What will happen when Charlie and little brats like Veruca Salt and Augustus Goop actually visit the factory? Will the brats get what's coming to them? And what's the real reason for the mysterious factory tour?
The QVAA board considered a few different plays for the company's 2017 musical, but “they really wanted to do this one,” Van Woert said.
It's a story that pretty much everybody likes, he said. “Everybody wants to be Willy, and let your imagination run wild. Or everybody wants to be Charlie,” and take advantage of that golden ticket to adventure and exploration.
Van Woert said he was both excited and nervous about directing, since its technical demands are very challenging. “It's a technical marvel. It's probably the most magical show I've ever worked on.” The crew has worked hard to make the special effects really work, he said.
Tickets are available at the Martin-Morris Agency, 13 Southwest C Street in Quincy, 509-787-3571; people who want a tickets (golden or otherwise) should ask for Janice Flynn. Some tickets will be available at the door, but advance purchase is recommended, according the QVAA website.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.