BWW Reviews: CCT's WILLY WONKA Wins the Golden Ticket

Dahl's classic novel comes to life on stage at the Lincoln Theatre in CCT's delightful production of WILLY WONKA. Adapted for stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, this timeless story reminds us of the magic of theatre and obsession of chocolate.

Ryan Scarlata plays the title character of Willy Wonka, the magical chocolate man, who chooses five lucky winners to tour his factory by placing golden tickets in the wrappers of chocolate bars. With a simple wave of his wand, he displays a dazzling mix of mystery and charisma as he engages the audience and entrances the five chosen kids who tour his factory with "Pure Imagination."

Although the title might imply differently, WILLY WONKA is really about Charlie Bucket, the heart and soul of the musical. Andrew Johnson is both lovable and energetic, and effortlessly allows his vocal tone to carry his emotion, transforming the poor schoolboy into an international candy mogul.

The Bucket family as a whole is particularly endearing and sympathetic. Charming and ever so cheerful Grandpa Joe (played by Alex Lefeld) is a constant reminder that "the Bucket family always thinks positive."

The lucky four remaining Golden Ticket winners are perfectly cast and successfully played by young actors, Joshua Inlander (the gluttonous "Augustus Gloop"), Avery Bank (the spoiled brat, "Veruca Salt"), John Beck (TV/video game addict, "Mike Teavee"), and Charley Nuesse (gum chewer extraordinaire, "Violet Beauregarde"). They each give comedic exaggeration of their stereotype and keep the audience constantly entertained.

Jenna Lee Shively, Joshua Dobkins, Abby Zeszotek, and Rachel Mulcahy play the bratty kids' parents who feed their obsessions with more than candy bars. Standouts are Joshua Dobkins who is the upper-class, clueless father of spoiled Veruca Salt, and Jenna Lee Shively who plays Mrs. Gloop with overindulgence and hilarious exaggeration.

The Oompa-Loompas add brightness and color and march to the melodic and catchy tunes of the 12-piece live orchestra directed by Jeff Hamm. Set designs are simple but effective, transitioning from the Bucket's dilapidated house to the magical candy factory.

William Goldsmith presents an endearing adaptation of WILLY WONKA and the entire cast delivers a fresh, lively take on a universal childhood classic. So unwrap a candy bar and head to the Lincoln Theatre and you will find your Golden Ticket.

Columbus Children's Theatre's WILLY WONKA is running through April 21, 2013 at the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long Street, Columbus, Ohio. For tickets and more information, call 614-224-6672 or visit www.colschildrenstheatre.org.

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From This Author Christina Mancuso

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