TV and Broadway Songwriters Team Up for WILLYFEST - A MUSICAL PARODY

The creative team includes Riki Lindhome, Tova Litvin and Doug Rockwell and more.

By: Mar. 12, 2024
TV and Broadway Songwriters Team Up for WILLYFEST - A MUSICAL PARODY
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A team of top film, television and Broadway songwriters have joined forces to create a musical satire inspired by the recent, ill-fated Willy Wonka knockoff fiasco in Glasgow, Scotland that became a social media phenomenon. Produced by Kraft-Engel Productions, "WillyFest - A Musical Parody" is targeted to premiere in late 2024.

As covered in worldwide press, the misguided "Willy's Chocolate Experience" immersive event promising to transport fans into Willy Wonka's magical realm, quickly morphed into a nightmare as customers reportedly entered a sparsely decorated warehouse with AI generated images and cheap props. News reports and social posts said children left in tears, police were called, and the debacle was ultimately canceled midway through opening day, leaving organizers and guests with a bitter taste in their mouths and wallets. A popular meme of an Oompa Loompa knockoff image from the event compared it to a meth lab.

The creative team behind the parody musical is comprised of Emmy-nominated Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel and Oates, "Another Period"), Emmy winners Tova Litvin and Doug Rockwell ("High School Musical: The Musical: The Series," "Julie & The Phantoms"), Broadway songwriters Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner ( "First Date," ABC's "Once Upon a Time"), and TikTok songwriter Daniel Mertzlufft ("Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical" "Grumpy Monkey: The Musical").

Songwriters Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner explain, "From Broadway to street corner pop-ups, audiences have become obsessed with immersive experiences that enable them to be a part of the story. But it takes a special kind of magic to devastate children and adults alike - and it feels like the only way to find meaning in this chocolate-less catastrophe... is to sing about it."

"This could be 'Waiting For Guffman' but with scam artists," says writer Riki Lindhome.

"When the inspiration for a parody has a con artist, ChatGPT, a mysterious wedding and crying children, it's hard to resist. Who wouldn't want to write a musical about an experience that goes from joy, to fear, to why the f*** am I here?" noted songwriting team Tova Litvin and Doug Rockwell.

Songwriter Daniel Mertzlufft said, "Sometimes imagination isn't so pure and creators can find themselves woefully overselling and grotesquely under delivering. The stakes are high, the characters are ridiculous, and the emotions are all too real - the perfect storm for a musical!"

"While it is quite common for there to be writers' rooms in television, taking that approach with theatrical songwriters is fairly unique and likely to produce amazingly satirical and unexpected results," said Producer Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Productions ("Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl", ABC's "The Little Mermaid Live") of the creative team behind the new parody musical. "If Ed Wood and P.T. Barnum got into 'environmental experiences' fueled by a million dreams and zero dollars, it might turn out like this. While most see nothing but wreckage in a disaster of this magnitude, we all think it screams out: Musical!!"

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