Arts and Entertainment

Whidbey Children’s Theater brings magic of Willy Wonka to stage

Sawyer Mauk as Charlie Bucket meets Caelen Coe as Willy Wonka.  - Lucy Brown photo
Sawyer Mauk as Charlie Bucket meets Caelen Coe as Willy Wonka.
— image credit: Lucy Brown photo


Whidbey Children’s Theater is sweetening the season with its production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Junior.

The play opened Dec. 7 and will run tonight, Dec. 8, through Dec. 22.

Incoming artistic director Ken Martinez will direct this production, which features 28 young actors and actresses.

“What is more enchanting than candy?” Martinez says, “Especially at the holidays. And the story is so well-known and well-loved, and it’s such fun to perform it with a new point of view.”

The kids will bring the timeless story of the world-famous candy maker to Langley and will take audiences along on his quest to find an heir, which features the songs from the classic family film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

The story follows the eccentric candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Along the way four of the candidates are revealed to be rotten apples, while the fifth, young Charlie, stands out through kindness and shares Wonka’s passion for his craft. The children must learn to follow the rules in the factory, or suffer the consequences.

“While the show is about candy and fantasy and silly happenings,” Martinez says, “it does speak to the perils of bad behavior — and the rewards of basic honesty and integrity. I think all of those ideas actually resonate with equal effect.”

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Junior features a memorable song score by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

“I’m very excited about this production, and our cast is so enthusiastic and talented. There is so much in this production of Willy Wonka that will appeal to audiences of all ages,” Martinez said.

The show runs through Dec. 22 weekend performances.

Tickets cost $8 for students, $10 for seniors and $12 for adults.

For tickets, call 221-2282.

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