“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” musical at Bradford High School
KENOSHA – Audiences are invited to take a journey through Willy Wonka’s world of fantasy – and chocolate – when Bradford High School’s production of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ opens on Thursday, February 2nd.
The show, which runs through Sunday, follows the classic Roald Dahl tale of the world-famous Wonka opening the gates of his mysterious factory to a lucky few children who hold a ‘golden ticket’.
The musical features well-known tunes, including “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination.”
“(Viewers) can expect to be thoroughly entertained by the dancing, singing and music,” said director Holly Stanfield. “Some of the music will be very familiar, not all, but some will be very familiar. It’s just a great telling of the story of Charlie and the Roald Dahl Chocolate Factory.”
According to Stanfield, this show was chosen because it would highlight the talents of the students and because Music Theater International offered the school the show.
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And then there’s the built-in affection for the story, which was first told as a 1964 novel and later made into a film, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in 1971 and starring Johnny Depp as the candy maker in 2005.
“It’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,'” Stanfield said. “Everyone loves it.”
Bradford students on the production team have been rehearsing the show since late November, and Stanfield said their favorite part has been working with the talented group on a well-known story.
“I just love working with the kids,” she says. “You are unbelievable. You are such talented students.
“And the show is just a lot of fun, based on an incredible story that a lot of people know. It was a pleasure to see how (the students) really succeed with the material.”
Devon Henningfield, the senior who plays the role of Willy Wonka, said the show’s characterization of Wonka was primarily inspired by Wilder’s role in the 1971 film, along with the Broadway production role.
“We kind of mixed them all together to create something original,” Henningfield said.
Henningfield said the role was challenging due to the amount of line memorization involved.
“I feel like everything in high school kind of prepared me for this moment. It’s just a lot of lines,” Henningfield said. “I usually dance non-stop in shows, but I don’t dance as much in this one as I usually do.”
Henningfield said this show was a “full circle moment” for him.
“The show is bittersweet. I started acting as a napkin in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in kindergarten and it will be my last show in Bradford for the year,” he said. “So it’s crazy to be the lead. It’s a full circle moment.”