Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical
BREAKING NEWS – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will premiere at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Producers have confirmed the new musical will open at Drury Lane in summer 2013. Read more here.
With one Roald Dahl musical flourishing in the West End, producers are hoping that lightning will strike the same place twice as a musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in the pipeline for early 2013. Rumours of the show have been circulating online for the past year, and much discussion has been had as to who is attached to the project. The show was originally thought to open in the 2012 season, but due to the Olympics and other factors, big shows have pushed back their opening dates until the new year. The transfer of Broadway hit The Book of Mormon has recently announced it will open in March 2013 following previews from 25th February. It is likely that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will open in the spring, as the awards season begins in earnest.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be based on the 1964 children’s book by Roald Dahl, which has already inspired numerous adaptations, including the 1971 musical film starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film relocated the book to America and was heavily criticised by Dahl for changes to the plot and the overall feel of the adaptation. He felt too much emphasis had been placed on the character of Wonka and ultimately disowned the film, banning production on the sequel, ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’. The songs written for the film were by musical theatre composers Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, who have provided the score to musicals such as ‘Stop the World I Want to Get Off’ and ‘Doctor Doolittle’. Songs included: ‘I’ve Got a Golden Ticket’, ‘The Candyman Can’, ‘Pure Imagination’ and ‘The Oompa Loompa Song’ which became favourites with children all around the world. The show is currently licensed by Musical Theatre International, under the name ‘Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka’ and is often performed by amateur companies all over America.
The film was remade by Tim Burton in 2005 starring Johnny Depp in the role of Willy Wonka. It was in development since 1991, but faced restrictions from the Dahl estate over casting and creative team after Dahl was so disappointed with the original movie. The tone of the film was a lot darker than the original, with Tim Burton putting his own spin on the story creating a new way of looking at Wonka and the chocolate factory setting. The film divided opinion although it was a commercial success, grossing almost $500,000 worldwide. Danny Elfman provided the score to the new adaptation, although the songs were unforgettable, unlike the Bricusse and Newley originals.
It is thought the musical will be a new adaptation that is closer to the book and different to both film versions. A new score by Hairspray writers Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman, who have recently been working on the NBC show Smash will bring the show to life. Hollywood director Sam Mendes has been attached to the project since the beginning, and the schedule has allowed him to film the new Bond film ‘Skyfall’ and remain as director. His many successful musical offerings at the Donmar Warehouse have shown him to be one of the UK’s finest theatre directors and his vision of Dahl’s world would be exciting and invigorating. Multi award-winning choreographer Peter Darling is also said to be attached to the project, and this would be the second Dahl musical for him to work on in as many years, after his outstanding work on Matilda for the RSC. Designer Mark Thompson is said to have started work on the set designs which will be one of his biggest projects to date, although he has collected Olivier Awards for his designs for ‘The Comedy of Errors’ and ‘The Wind in the Willows’.
The story follows a young boy from a deprived background as he wins an exclusive ‘golden ticket’ to tour the factory of wacky chocolate maker Willy Wonka. Entering into this crazy world, young Charlie and four extremely spoilt children are shown the workings of the factory and get a behind the scenes look at a world of chocolate rivers, Oompa Loompas and angry squirrels.