BWW Previews: GET YOUR 'GOLDEN' TICKET TO CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY at The Straz Center For The Performing Arts
In a limited run on October 8-13, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the beloved childhood tale of five lucky children with magic tickets, hits The Straz Center to delight kids of all ages.
The story is a lesson in have and have-nots, centering around Charlie Bucket, a poor, kind-hearted boy whose family is on the brink of starvation. Charlie, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt, and Augustus Gloop, have found a golden ticket inside a Wonka bar and have gained the privilege of visiting the chocolate factory. Unlike Charlie, the four are sorely lacking in traits of kindness and appreciation.
Off his Broadway debut in SpongeBob SquarePants covering the roles of Patrick and Mr. Krabs, Matt Wood plays the glutinous Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Somewhere between ages 5 and 10, Matt decided that theatre would be his life. A graduate of NYU Cap 21's musical theatre program, he always enjoyed singing, and musical theatre was his first exposure to the stage. In addition to theatre performances, Matt is actively involved in television and film, writes and directs. "Sometimes, the bug just bites you early on. It's good to be diversified."
As the favorite character from his childhood, Matt has enjoyed playing the spoiled brat, Augustus.
"The character stands out to children. The best thing about playing Augustus is how heightened we take the character, how ridiculous it gets, and how obnoxious they let us be."
Matt said it was fun to play a child in the production.
"We're not trying to fool the audience that we're actually children. It's still a unique take on playing a child."
Puppetry, lighting, and video technology to create brilliant special effects bring to life the fantastical world inside the chocolate factory.
"It's a nice blend between high-tech and low-tech when it comes to making the stagecraft."
Matt said that the message of the show is perfectly described in the song "Pure Imagination."
"The scene in the chocolate room where we sing "Pure Imagination" sums up the story. It's one of my all-time favorite songs, it's beautiful and tells the whole point of the show." Matt said, "The message of the show is how to embrace your own unique individual creativity, not let that get away from you. That's what happens to Wonka. He loses that spark and needs Charlie to remind him of how important it is to be a creative individual."
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is at the Straz Center's Carol Morsani Hall October 8-13. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. The Thursday, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. performance will feature a sign language interpreter. Regularly priced tickets may be purchased by calling 813.229.7827, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at www.strazcenter.org.