Apes and Oompah Loompas Take Over the Tuacahn Stage

Learn more about the upcoming shows here!

By: May. 26, 2023
Apes and Oompah Loompas Take Over the Tuacahn Stage

As the 2023 Tuacahn Broadway season opens, the stage is set to swap between two very different worlds, tied together with similar themes of love and family. 
From swinging apes and loin-cloth clad men to candy-crazed children and a flowing chocolate river, Tuacahn has the golden ticket to entertainment this summer with musical renditions of Tarzan and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opening May 26 and 27 respectively. 
“I’m a huge fan of the Gene Wilder movie,” said Michael Heitzman, director for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “I just love how much heart that movie had.” 
This rendition of the classic Roald Dahl story is the perfect combination of heart and spectacle, along with the kind of rich storytelling to which Tuacahn audiences have grown accustomed. 
“We’re doing Charlie but on a Tuacahn scale,” Heitzman said. “It’s going to be super-duper magical, with lots of things you will not see in any other production.” 
Designed by many of the same team that brought last year’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and 2021’s Beauty and the Beast to life, Heitzman said the audience will be transported the moment they walk into the Outdoor Amphitheatre and see the stage. 
“I want you to feel like you’re walking into a magical, colorful, candy kind of a world,” Heitzman said. “We really want families to come and enjoy the story of a boy who ends up following his dreams and his love of Willy Wonka to become the owner of this remarkable factory.” 
Leading the tour through this confectionary wonderland is none other than Willy Wonka himself, played by the energetic and enthusiastic Jonathan Wagner, who returns to Tuacahn after making a strong name for himself as the wild and crazy substitute music teacher Dewey Finn in Tuacahn’s 2021 production of School of Rock. 
“It’s such a big compliment to be invited back, especially into a role that involves working with some of the same children as before,” Wagner said.
Casting actual children in the child roles is something that sets this production apart from the Broadway version (in which adults played all the roles except for Charlie Bucket) and it’s something Wagner said adds to the magic and playfulness of these delightful characters. 
“The talent in these kids is unbelievable,” Wagner said. “Sometimes as an actor, you expect kids not to have the same level of discipline and professionalism as the adults, but that’s not the case here. They are top level, amazing.” 
That kind of top-level talent holds true in this season’s version of Tarzan as well, where the casting team stopped nothing short of bringing the man who originated the role on Broadway to swing across the Tuacahn stage. 
“I am so excited to be back in this role,” said Josh Strickland, who plays Tarzan. “There’s only one Tuacahn in the world and you just know they’re going to do something really special with this show.” 
Directed by Scott Anderson, who also serves as the Artistic Director for Tuacahn, some of the special elements in this year’s iteration of Tarzan includes even more flying, stage flooding and some additional surprises that Anderson can’t wait for audiences to enjoy. 
“I think people will see this show in a whole new light,” Anderson said. “Having Josh joining us in the title role is a real treat, along with the rest of the cast that is just supremely talented.” 
Don’t miss a minute of the magic as the Tuacahn season opens with Tarzan and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opening May 26 and 27 respectively and continuing through mid-October joined in the Outdoor Amphitheatre by The Hunchback of Notre Dame on July 15, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical in the Indoor Hafen Theatre on June 30. Tickets and season packages are available now at www.tuacahn.org or by calling the box office at 435-652-3300.


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