Following auditions by more than 300 hopeful artists in Brisbane and around the country (via video calls), the full cast of this September’s Queensland premiere season of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been revealed to coincide with World Chocolate Day.
After a comprehensive search, 15 artists were thrilled to receive a Golden Ticket – joining 22 cast members of the multi-Helpmann Award nominated musical returning from the Sydney and Melbourne seasons. The full company comprises 10 Queenslanders playing lead and ensemble roles.
Three Queensland boys will finally have the chance to redeem their Golden Tickets, having been cast in the role of Charlie in the scheduled QPAC 2020 season that had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.
The role of Charlie Bucket will be played Phineaus Knickerbocker (13), Cooper Matthews, (12) and Flynn Nowlan, (13). Edgar Stirling (12) will also play Charlie, reprising the role from the Melbourne season of the production.
In this stage adaption of the much-loved Roald Dahl classic, Charlie 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 to tour the Wonka Chocolate Factory.
Willy Wonka, the most amazing, fantastic, extraordinary chocolate maker the world has ever seen, will be played by Stephen Anderson, who is delighted to be re-joining the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory having previously played Mr Salt in premiere Sydney and Melbourne seasons.
Stephen’s most recent theatre roles included playing Father Alex in Mamma Mia! and he was an original cast member of the Australian and New Zealand tour of Matilda the Musical playing Sergei (understudying Miss Trunchbull and Mr Wormwood).
His many theatre credits include: Falsettos (Darlinghurst Theatre Company); Man of La Mancha (Squabbalogic); The Light in the Piazza (NIDA); and A Year with Frog and Toad (Ensemble Theatre); as well as working extensively with Tall Stories and CDP Theatre Producers, including the original Australian productions of The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom. In 2014 he was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award: Judith Johnson Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical for his role in Falsettos.
Ninety-and-a-half-year-old Grandpa Joe, an enthusiastic storyteller and eternal optimist, is to be played by acclaimed actor, Robert Grubb, who will be well known to audiences from his extensive work within Australian theatre, film and television. Robert was most recently seen in Billy Elliot as George, the boxing coach.
He has delighted audiences in My Fair Lady as Alfred Doolittle for Opera Australia, for which he received a Helpmann nomination, played the title role in Ken Hill’s The Phantom of the Opera and captured everyone’s heart as Pop in We Will Rock You, which earned him a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
Robert’s many film credits include Waiting at the Royal, Paradise Road, Phar Lap, Peter Weir’s Gallipoli and My Brilliant Career, for which he received the industry’s award for Best Supporting Actor. Robert also has a long list of TV credits to his name including Dr Geoff Standish in The Flying Doctors, most recently Detective Graves in Neighbours and is still warmly remembered as Barry Boston in Seachange.
Reprising the role of Mrs Bucket, a kind, caring mother and a woman of few words, will be musical theatre star, Lucy Maunder, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical at the Helpmann Awards for this role. Recent previous roles for Lucy include playing songwriter Cynthia Weil in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, prior to that starring in Matilda: The Musical and as Lara in Dr Zhivago and Rizzo in Grease.
Other lead roles in this captivating musical include the four other children who find a Golden Ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and their accompanying parent. The role of Augustus Gloop will be played by Jaxon Graham Wilson who originates from Ipswich, with Mrs Gloop played by Octavia Barron Martin. Karina Russell and Simon Russell are Veruca Salt and Mr Salt, Tarisai Vushe plays Violet Beauregard with Madison McKoy as Mr Beauregard, and Taylor Scanlan and Johanna Allen are Mike Teavee and his Mother, Mrs Teavee.
Completing the talented cast are Sheridan Anderson, Lily Baulderstone, Hayden Baum, Jared Bryan, Emily Casey, Lauren Cheok, Euan Doidge, Todd Goddard, Madison Green, Jillian Green, David Hammond, James Haxby, Sasha Lian-Diniz, Kassie Martin, Katie McKee, Ana Mitsikas, Josh Mulheran, Adam Noviello, Glen Oliver, Bronson Pfeiler, Jackson Reedman and Celina Yuen.
QPAC and producers John Frost for Crossroads Live, Craig Donnell, Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions are delighted with the calibre of the cast secured to play roles in the first-ever Queensland season of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“We are thrilled to have three such talented local boys playing the role of Charlie, to be joined by one of our fabulous Melbourne Charlies. The role of Charlie is huge – he’s rarely off stage for the whole show – so it’s great to have four young artists ready to portray this much-loved titular character,” said John Frost (on behalf of the show’s producers).
“In addition, our search has found an amazing group of accomplished triple threat artists, many who live in or have connections with Queensland, to perform alongside our sensational returning cast members in lead and ensemble roles.”
“This full cast announcement is an exciting milestone. It brings us one step closer to sharing this beloved story that has captured hearts, firstly with Roald Dahl’s bewitching tale, then with the 1971 Gene Wilder film. Now this fabulous cast is set to enchant Brisbane audiences, young and old, as they bring the magic of this nostalgic story to life on stage,” said Mr Frost.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features 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.
Don’t miss the chance to step inside a world of pure imagination and experience the wonders of Wonka like never before. Get ready for the Oompa-Loompas’ incredible inventions, the great glass elevator and more in this everlasting showstopper.
Further “sweet” news also revealed an extra week has been added to the season falling within the September school holidays. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will now run from 2 to 26 September 2021 with new seats now on sale. For more information, visit: www.qpac.com.au for details.
Image: The original Australian Cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – photo by Brian Geach