Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On The National Tour of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
The chocolate factory is coming to a city near you! The tour for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY launched last week at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY, and will next head to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and more.
Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, who has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous-and mysterious-factory is opening its gates...to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka's world of pure imagination. Get ready for Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator, and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper!
With direction by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features music by Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by Artistic Director of Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum theatre David Greig, choreography by Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse and includes additional songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the 1971 Warner Bros. motion picture.
Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features scenic and costume design by five-time Tony Award nominee Mark Thompson, lighting design by four-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Andrew Keister, projection design by Jeff Sugg, puppet and illusion design by Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Basil Twist, orchestrations by three-time Tony Award winner Doug Besterman and music supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck. Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Mark Kaufman), Langley Park Productions (Kevin McCormick) and Neal Street Productions (Sam Mendes, Caro Newling).
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Melinda Miller, Buffalo News: At nearly two and a half hours, the show runs a little long, and while the lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman are witty, it's unlikely anyone will be humming anything other than "Candy Man" on the way out. Oddest of all was how anticlimactic it was to see Wonka and Charlie in the Great Glass Elevator at the end, although the light design on the layered staged played beautifully.
Samantha Vargas, UB Spectrum: The production featured an incredibly talented cast. Actor Noah Weisberg (Willy Wonka) stole the show with his powerful vocals, but the supporting cast also gave solid performances. The child performers were surprisingly strong. Brynn Williams (Violet Beauregarde) was another powerful performer who belted out musical performances throughout the show.
Peter Hall, Buffalo Rising: Then several of the highest points came when the Oompa Loompas appeared. [Interesting note: Microsoft's spell check has no problem with spelling out "Oompa Loompas."] They were small-ish creations that used the "real" heads of their puppeteers (members of the ensemble) while Oompa Loompa arms and legs were manipulated, as needed, by those ensemble folks wearing traditional Japanese Bunraku puppeteer costumes.
John Szablewski, Buffalo Theatre Guide: Leading the show as the "Candy Man" is Noah Weisberg. Weisberg is a real song and dance man. He performs well, and has a fun presence on stage, yet he makes a character that we all know, unique. His strong point is in the best song of the show, "It Must Be Believed To Be Seen." He ends the first act on a high note, and his energy travels into act two where all the hi jinx take place.