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“Come with me… and you’ll be… in a world of pure imagination,” sang Willy Wonka in the 1971 film version of Roald Dahl’s well-known tale of confectionery magic.
You can count on that tune being performed when Windsor Light Music Theatre present its musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — opening Friday night at the Chrysler Theatre.
“It’s a classic that everyone knows and loves,” says first-time director Matthew Dumouchel about the elaborate production.
“But we have a couple little twists and turns that modernize it.”
Despite the inclusion of the song Pure Imagination, Dumouchel said the Windsor show actually takes its cues more from the 2013 stage musical adaptation of the story rather than the movie.
But what any version has in common is a devotion to spectacle. “We have interesting technology behind the scenes that will make this feel like a storybook coming to life,” Dumouchel enthused.
“It’s bigger than a movie, almost. There’s a lot of special effects that are going into this show.”
“Once the ‘Golden Ticket’ winners go inside the Chocolate Factory, we have smoke and fog, functioning vats, loud noises for the pop and bubblegum. It all creates a fantasy land on stage… I’m really excited to see all those colours and fun creations.”
There are also the iconic characters of Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket to consider — played in this production by Dane Fader and Evangeline Scott, respectively.
“Back when Windsor Light Music Theatre did this story in 2010, Dane was our Charlie,” Dumouchel marvelled. “Now he’s our Willy Wonka. It’s a fun switch for him.”
“Dane is a character actor. He brings a bit of the compassionate and understanding side to Willy Wonka, but he also has the ability to play with the goofy, wacky side.”
Regarding the choice of Scott — an actual 12-year-old girl — to play Charlie, Dumouchel said she was selected for the starring role because she has proven herself in previous Windsor Light Music Theatre shows.
“This is her third major musical production with us, and she is fantastic. She brings such emotion to the character,” Dumouchel said. “We feel connected with her from the beginning to the end.”
Along with the acting talents of 31 cast members, the show features choreography by Cindy Pattison-Rivard, and a live orchestra and chorus directed by Nicholas Morvay.
“The live instrumentation really creates a dynamic sound for people in the theatre,” Dumouchel said.
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Performances of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory take place at the Chrysler Theatre (201 Riverside Dr. West) on the weekends of May 5 to 7, and May 12 to 14.
Showtime on Fridays and Saturdays is 7:30 p.m., showtime on Sundays is 2 p.m.
Ticket prices start at $35, available for purchase by calling 519-252-6579 or visiting chryslertheatre.com.
Learn more about the production at windsorlight.com.