By Randy Gener
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: THE MUSICAL
Music by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman, Book by David Greig
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (214 W. 42nd Street)
NEW YORK CITY | The team looks unbeatable — but is it any good? The composers are pop sensations — but does their new musical pop? The critics do not think so. And the people who hand out awards agree. You still want to shell out that hard-earned $160?
The Outer Critics Circle announced its 2017 theater award nominations yesterday, and not a single wonka in this new musical was wonky enough for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to be deemed worthy of being a potential Broadway winner. Who knows what the Drama Desk Awards will do? Honor it — or diss it?
I mean, really — who cares? Who knows? Within the context of this spring’s award season, getting no nominations means being ignored. That’s a shy short of being disrespected.
What’s iCultWorld‘s professional opinion? I wish I could confirm whether the critics were right or not. You and I are stuck with that B-roll video above and the eye-cringing production photos seen here. And it looks as if you may have to re-rent that Johnny Depp movie — or wait it out until you can hear the Broadway original soundtrack (which I assume will come out soon).
And we are stuck with the knowledge that the Outer Critics Circle Awards voters could perhaps be right after all? Why? These prestigious awards have been presented annually for theatrical achievements both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. They were begun during the 1949–1950 theatre season
No matter. Especially if you are traveling to London, where the British version is still gaudily performing. In fact, this American version of the London production of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (directed by Sam Mendes and choreographed by Peter Darling, is one of the West End’s most popular and successful stage musicals and has broken house records at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
At that venue, it has been seen by over 2.1 million people since it opened in June 2013. Now in its fourth and final year, it currently sits alongside MISS SAIGON and 42ND STREET in the top three longest-running productions of the last 50 years at the historic venue, one of London’s largest theaters.
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions are the big-name producers. They took on two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle as Willy Wonka. He is joined by a cast of 35 that includes Tony Award winner John Rubinstein as Grandpa Joe (Pippin), Emily Padgett as Mrs. Bucket (Side Show), Kathy Fitzgerald as Mrs. Gloop (9 to 5), F. Michael Haynie as Augustus Gloop (Wicked).
The show’s star is somebody recognizable — two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle (Willy Wonka). He joined by a cast of 35 that includes Tony Award winner John Rubinstein as Grandpa Joe (PIPPIN), Emily Padgett as Mrs. Bucket (SIDE SHOW), Kathy Fitzgerald as Mrs. Gloop (9 TO 5), F. Michael Haynie as Augustus Gloop (WICKED).
Directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, this Broadway musical features 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 and choreography by Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse. The production includes additional songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the 1971 Warner Bros. motion picture.
The show began performances March 28, 2017 and officially opened Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street).
Who knows if the show’s main inventor Roald Dahl would turn over in his grace if he had seen the show? Word of mouth says that the songs are bright and peppy but unmemorable. Worse, many dissers think that when it comes to replicating Dahl’s fantasy onstage, this new musical doesn’t even come close.
Until now, Roald Dahl‘s story of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY has been a favorite outside of Broadway’s confines.
Now for the first time Broadway audiences are invited to experience Willy Wonka’s delightful and semi-dark chocolate world first-hand. If you remember, Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination.
According to the press release: “Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.”
To borrow from the Church Lady in “Saturday Night Live”: Well, isn’t that special?
The Broadway production of Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Mark Kaufman), Langley Park Productions (Kevin McCormick) and Neal Street Productions (Sam Mendes, Caro Newling).
Tickets for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory range from $69 – $160, and are available at www.Ticketmaster.com (877.250.2929).
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