Parkway Playhouse's 68th Season Arrives on April 11th, with the opening of Willy Wonka Jr. which is being performed and produced by the 50-some students in the Award-Winning Parkway Playhouse Jr. program. Performances of Willy Wonka Jr. will be at the historic Parkway Playhouse theatre located at 202 Green Mountain Drive in Burnsville. The three performances of this famous family staple will be held on Friday April 11 at 7:30pm and April 12th at 3:00pm & 7:30pm. Tickets are available exclusively at the door and range from $5.50-$11.00.
Willy Wonka is the mysterious and eccentric purveyor of candy at the center of Roald Dahl’s widely-read 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Willy Wonka, Jr. is vivid musical adaptation of Dahl’s book and features a songs and music from the classic 1971 film adaptation, including the mega-hit The Candy Man Can. In the story, Wonka stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever finds these rare tickets will win a free tour of the mysterious Wonka Factory and a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likable, but poor child, named Charlie Bucket who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. Once inside Wonka’s factory all is not what it seems, including the eccentric candy-maker himself; the children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka's rules in the factory--or suffer the consequences.
All the performers in Willy Wonka Jr. are students from Mitchell, Avery, Yancey, and Madison Counties who have been rehearsing and preparing since January. Student performers are: Jacob Bacon, Levi Bradford, Elijah Briggs, Willa Briggs, Baleigh Bryant, Logan Bryant, Natalie Calkins, Laela Cash, Corey Chandler, Jonathan Chandler, Lexi Cranor, Izzy Davis, Sydney Edwards, Aspen Elliot, Beckett Gall, Hunter Gall, Jeremy Heidenfelder, Kade Hoilman, Maggie Howell, Charlotte Hubbard, Emma Hubbard, Ursula Kelley, Henry Kramer, James Kramer, Amira Malas, Aaron Neighbors, Eli North, Oscar North, Laura Oosterloo, Liza Patrick, Lily Polgar, Kadence Ray, Paige Rizzuto, Drew Smoker, Eva Soto, Paloma Soto, Hana Stella, Kai’ana Stella, Austin Tinna, Tristi Townsend, Logan Walden, Luke Watrous, Polly Watrous, Asya Williams, and Samarie Wilson.
In addition to the all-student cast, many of the props, costumes, scenery, lighting, and other technical elements were also created by Parkway Playhouse Jr. students. Hana Stella, Turner Weinmeister, Isabelle and Olivia Hughes, Izzy Davis, Taylor Hutcheson, Drew Smoker, Paloma Soto, Elijah Briggs, and Logan Walden, members of a specialized after-school class has been working with Parkway Playhouse’s professional staff and artisans to design and build everything from Oompa-Loompa shirts to oversize candy for the productions colorful set.
The production is being directed by Parkway Playhouse General Manager, Kristen Donelle Livengood; Director of Education Mary Katherine Smith-Gall has choreographed the musical numbers; and music direction is by Yancey County native, Andrea Bailey.
Parkway Playhouse Jr. is the performing arts program established by Parkway Playhouse for students from across the mountain region of Western North Carolina, who have an interest in the performing arts. Students in this program range from as young as 4 all the way up through 18 and in addition to learning stagecraft, acting, singing, and dancing are encouraged to develop leadership skills, become critical and creative thinkers, and collaborative problem solvers. For the past three years, students from Parkway Playhouse Jr have performed and earned national acclaim from the National Junior Theatre Festival, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia each January. Parkway Playhouse offers open registration for Production classes and Summer Performing Arts Camps.
For more information about Parkway Playhouse’s performances, auditions, or education programs please call 828-682-4285 or visit www.parkwayplayhouse.com.