by Waverly W., 8 years old, Manhattan
Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is finally here in NYC on Broadway and let me tell you, it is scrumdiddlyumptious! Even before you get inside the theater, it’s fun just being outside. It’s like really being in his factory and it makes you so excited to see the show. The whole theater looks like it’s actually Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Waiting outside here was the best time I’ve ever had waiting for a show to start.I could not wait to get inside – it really felt like I had a Golden Ticket! I have loved the movie for years and loved Willy Wonka – after all, there aren’t many “W. W.’s” out there like me!
Inside the “factory” was also fun – “The Chocolate Bar” and “EmporiYUM” are there for cool souvenirs and candy. We had Gobstoppers with us but we loaded up on treats and of course, chocolate and met the theater’s “Candy Man,” Matt who was really nice so we did our video with him. Hi, Matt!
When the show started Charlie’s voice said, “Welcome to the Chocolate Factory” and said we couldn’t take pictures but we could eat as much candy as we want.” This was definitely my kind of show and I was already halfway through my Dylan’s chocolate bar. Yum. I was ready! I felt exactly like Charlie did in this picture: Woo-hoo!!
Christian Borle, who played Willy Wonka, came out and started singing “The Candy Man” and the audience, including me and my mom, went crazy clapping and screaming. He explained that “It’s time to find a new….me.” So, as most of us know, he puts five Golden Tickets in his chocolate bars. But in this show, after taking off his hat and giving a strange look to the audience, he also does something else, secretly, and Charlie (played by Jake Ryan Flynn – he has an amazing voice) has no idea that even before he goes into the factory, Willy already knows he is the perfect one to take over.
Time to meet Charlie’s family – and boy are they poor. His grandparents share a bed and have been lying in it for years! They are so poor that when Charlie runs in with someone’s old candy wrapper they get all excited and save it in a scrapbook. They were really funny though, and loved Charlie a lot. I laughed a lot at their jokes – “What’s for dinner?” “Cabbage surprise.” “We had that last night.” “That’s the surprise!” LOL. Mom, don’t try that on me…
Charlie has a notebook (just like me!) and he keeps his ideas in it. He is obsessed with Willy Wonka and chocolate making and has really good ideas. One night he writes a letter with ideas in it for Willy to read (ice cream that never melts so his mom can always be happy – I’d buy that for sure, and we would BOTH be happy!). I’ll just say there is something magical about that letter…
Charlie hangs out with the owner of the candy store that just opened up, dreaming of the day he can buy a chocolate bar and teaching him all about Willy Wonka. The store owner was funny but not very nice, but in the end you figure out why! Together they find out all of the winners of the Golden Tickets, except, of course, for that last one.
On one side of the stage was the old bed and on the other side was the candy store. In the middle were these squares made into a circle. Whenever someone found a Golden Ticket, suddenly the middle part would come alive, it was so cool – I have no idea how they did that! A funny lady named “Cherry Sundae” would come out and report on the new winner. These parts were really fun to watch! The first one was Augustus Gloop and he and his mom were hysterical (played by Kathy Fitzgerald and F. Michael Hayne), dancing around with sausages singing “More of Him to Love.” The audience loved it and we all laughed and went crazy watching.
Next was Veruca Salt – she came out in a fancy, sparky pink ballerina outfit and danced around while her father followed her around and they sang one of my favorite songs from the play called, “When Veruca says.” Her and her dad (played by Emma Pfaeffle and Ben Crawford) were really great and as soon as we got home we had to listen to that song right away!We found out the other ticket winners like that, suddenly there was “Breaking News” and the funny newscasters – Cherry and Jerry – would come out (played by Stephanie Gibson and Jared Bradshaw) and announce where they were and who the winner was. Then there was a cool song to introduce them.
In this play, Charlie finds his ticket after the store owner closes his shop and leaves a dollar behind. Charlie is so nice that he tries to chase him! He buys a chocolate bar from the funny Mrs. Green (played by Kyle Taylor Parker) who used to sell him old vegetables, and finally Charlie’s dream comes true! Kooky Grandpa Joe (played by John Rubinstein) gets up and does a dance and then they all meet in front of the chocolate factory door where Willy Wonka comes out like an old man who can barely walk, falls down and gets back up again and somehow changes completely! They sing, “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen” and when the curtain came down, everyone was clapping really loud and we all could not wait for Act Two!
Act Two started with a really great song called, “Strike That, Reverse It,” where Willy Wonka would say everything backwards and then say, “Strike that, reverse it,” and it would make more sense. This was definitely another favorite part of mine! But then they went into a blue room (The stage was like magic! It kept changing completely and you couldn’t even notice when it was happening or how it happened) and sang “Pure Imagination” and I knew the candy room was coming next…Charlie said he dreamed about that room and I was like, “So did I!” This is where poor Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river and we meet the fabulous Oompa Loompas! There were a whole bunch of them and they are so funny, another one of my favorite parts (I have a lot of them!). You just have to see them to know what I mean – let me just say they must be believed to be seen, LOL, they are not what I expected! Another really funny part was what happens to Violet. Let’s just say there’s A LOT of purple…
Mike Teavee, played by the awesome Michael Wartella, had a really funny part in the show where he kept bumping into invisible walls and falling down. Even my mom was cracking up during this part and so was the rest of the audience! She said that he was her favorite character event though in the movie he was her least favorite character. He was great and made us laugh so much. You have to see what happens to him when he gets to “be in tv.” When Willy says, “Nobody ever goes back to normal after they’ve been on tv” everyone went crazy laughing. Hey, Mike, sorry about what happened to you in the show, even though your mom is not! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will when you see the show for yourself!).
When all the characters are gone but Charlie, he is left alone in “The Imagining Room.” Willy tells him not to touch anything but he just can’t help himself and starts imagining and creating – just like Willy knew he would! Willy comes back and the end was amazing, they get on the elevator and Willy tells him to push the button that says “Don’t push” and suddenly they float up and there are all these magical stars all over the place and they sing “The View From Here” and I got chills! It was amazing and happy and my mom was even crying a little.
Want to see a show that has lots of good songs, really funny characters, and makes you feel like anything is possible if you imagine it? Don’t see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. STRIKE THAT, REVERSE IT – GO SEE CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY! It was an amazing, fun show and both me and my mom are definitely going back soon!
“Taste” it for yourself, and tell them Kids’ News NYC sent you!