Chicago Shakespeare Brings New Musical to Navy Pier
Roald Dahl’s Family Classic
Now through August 17, 2008s
Chicago—July 10, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is transformed into the fantastical, music-filled world of a candy-maker’s chocolate factory for the new stage musical, Willy Wonka. Based on the 1971 musical film version of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, CST’s production of Willy Wonka continues the Theater’s tradition of bringing family musicals to Navy Pier all summer long. Tickets can be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or by visiting the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Chicago audiences of all ages follow the sweet-natured Charlie Bucket and four other golden ticket winners on a tour through Willy Wonka’s larger-than-life candy factory, where nothing is quite as it seems. This musical treat for the whole family features music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and such memorable songs as “The Candy Man,” “I Want It Now!” and “Pure Imagination.” Roald Dahl’s classic is brought to life on stage through theater magic and song in the first professional production of Willy Wonka since its development at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Willy Wonka is performed in CST’s Courtyard Theater, now through August 17, 2008 and is recommended for ages five and up. Tickets are $18 for children (12 and younger), and $23 for adults.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater welcomes Harris Bank as a production sponsor of Willy Wonka. In announcing the partnership with CST, Brad Ballast, Harris Bank Managing Director – Community Affairs, commented, "Harris is proud to sponsor Willy Wonka at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. We welcome the opportunity to support high quality family programming that reaches countless parents and children during the busy summer months on Navy Pier."
The work of veteran director Joe Leonardo has been seen throughout the United States and London. He has directed national tours of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Me and My Girl, Ziegfeld: A Night at the Follies, City of Angels and Kiss Me, Kate. Other directing credits include the 2006 Reprise! production of City of Angels in Los Angeles; Man with a Load of Mischief in New York; It's Better with a Band in New York, London and Philadelphia; and the premiere of the musical At Wit's End at Florida Stage. In Chicago, the five-time Jeff Award nominated director has worked with several Chicago area theaters including Northlight and Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire where his recent productions include Little Women, State Fair, Brigadoon and Sunset Boulevard.
“Magic plays an important role in Willy Wonka—audiences are sure to be surprised and mesmerized,” according to director Joe Leonardo. “When the different worlds of the Golden Ticket winners collide, it will be something akin to arriving in Emerald City. Our production is sure to be larger than life—something for the entire family.”
Candy-maker Willy Wonka is brought to life by Sean Fortunato, last on stage at Chicago Shakespeare in The Comedy of Errors. CST newcomer Patrick Andrews—seen in American Theater Company’s production of Speech & Debate earlier this season—is featured as young Charlie Bucket. The cast of Willy Wonka is completed by Melanie Brezill as Violet Beauregarde; Mark David Kaplan as Grandpa Joe and Phineous Trout; Jessie Mueller as Veruca Salt; Paula Scrofano as Mrs. Bucket and Mrs. Gloop; Travis Turner as Mike Teavee and George Andrew Wolff as Augustus Gloop.
The fantastical world of Willy Wonka is imaginatively recreated by scenic designer Alan Edward Schwanke; costume designer Alison Siple; lighting designer Diane Ferry Williams; sound designer James Savage; wigs and make-up designer Melissa Veal; puppet designer Meredith Miller; and choreographer Stacey Flaster. Additionally, Linda Slein will serve as Music Director with Doug Peck as Music Supervisor.
Willy Wonka is recommended for ages 5 and up. Performances are at 11:00 a.m. (Wednesday – Thursday); 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (Friday); 11:00 a.m., 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. (Saturday); and 2:00 p.m. (Sunday). Tickets are $18 for children (12 and younger), and $23 for adults. For further information on Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions and to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Willy Wonka Production Sponsor: Harris Bank
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.