Sydney has embraced Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with both audience and critical acclaim, many performances selling out. The search has now started for four Melbourne boys to play the lead role of Charlie, and auditions will be held in May.
Charlie Bucket lives with his mother and his four grandparents in a little wooden house near a great town, and is the final child to find a Golden Ticket. For the auditions, producers are looking for Melbourne-based boys of around 10 years of age, an excellent singer with a naturally innocent voice, and exhibiting wonderful innocence and vulnerability.
Willy Wonka, the most amazing, fantastic, extraordinary chocolate maker the world has ever seen, is played by Paul Slade Smith. Slade Smith was part of the original Broadway cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, appearing as Grandpa George, and most recently appeared in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center.
Ninety and a half year old Grandpa Joe, an enthusiastic storyteller and eternal optimist, is played by Australian show business royalty Tony Sheldon. Sheldon is best known for playing the role of Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for over 1,900 performances in Australia, New Zealand, London, Toronto and on Broadway, winning the Theatre World Award and nominations for the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award, the Drama League Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award.
In the role of Mrs Bucket, a kind, caring mother and a woman of few words, is Lucy Maunder. Most recently Lucy played songwriter Cynthia Weil in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and prior to that toured New Zealand, Adelaide and Perth in Matilda: The Musical, in which she played Miss Honey and was nominated for a Helpmann Award.
Jake Fehily and Octavia Barron Martin play Augustus Gloop and Mrs Gloop, Karina Russell and Stephen Anderson are Veruca Salt and Mr Salt, Jayme-Lee Hanekom plays Violet Beauregard with Madison McKoy as Mr Beauregard, and Harrison Riley and Jayde Westaby are Mike Teavee and his mother Mrs Teavee.
Completing the wonderfully talented cast are Johanna Allen, Sheridan Anderson, Hayden Baum, Kanen Breen, Bayley Edmends, Bronte Florian, Todd Goddard, Madison Green, David Hammond, Sasha Lian-Diniz, Aaron Lynch, Jordan Malone, Kassie Martin, Phoenix Mendoza, Adam Noviello, Glen Oliver, Danielle O’Malley, Jackson Reedman, Emma Russell, Taylor Scanlan and Thalia Smith.
“This is such a wonderful story for generations to share,” said Producer John Frost. “Parents love sharing their favourite Willy Wonka film from their childhood with the whole family, and grandparents love taking their grandkids. We have an amazing cast to bring this story to life.”
Step inside a world of pure imagination. Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the perfect recipe for a delectable treat: songs from the original film including Pure Imagination, The Candy Man and I’ve Got a Golden Ticket, alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is perhaps Roald Dahl’s best-known story and has proved to be one of the most enduring children’s books of all time. The story of Charlie Bucket, the five Golden Tickets, the Oompa-Loompas and the amazing Willy Wonka has become firmly embedded in our culture since it was first published in 1964. Conservative estimates suggest the original book has sold over 20 million copies worldwide; it is now available in 61 languages.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features direction by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, 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.
Scenic and costume design is 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, and music supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck.
Now it’s Melbourne’s chance to experience the wonders of Wonka like never before – get ready for the Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper! Tickets on sale Friday 15 March 2019. For more information, visit: www.charliethemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Paul Slade Smith as Willy Wonka and the Cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (supplied)