November 28, 2014

Curtain raises on ‘Willy Wonka’ tonight

Amy Cunningham
acunningham@gardnernews.com

Spring Hill High School kicked off its fall musical on Thursday, Nov. 18, with a performance of Willy Wonka. The play is set to run through Saturday at the high school theatre.

Cast members of Spring Hill High School’s production of ‘Willy Wonka’ perform musical number, The Golden Age of Chocolate during a dress rehearsal on Nov. 17. The show opened Nov. 18 and runs through Nov. 20. Staff photo by Amy Cunningham

“Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination,” Wonka’s opening number, Pure Imagination, sung by SHHS senior Dustin Doty, portraying the title character, invites viewers into his fantasy world.
“Take a look, and you’ll see, into your imagination,” he sings.

Wonka is looking to settle down and retire, but will he be able to trust just anyone with his life’s work, especially while rival candy maker Arthur Slugworth lurks about, hoping to steal the recipe for the Wonka’s latest invention, the Everlasting Gobstopper?  Since he reaches the masses through his delicious delectables, Wonka devises a plan to randomly hide golden tickets in his chocolate bars.  These tickets would grant the holders a tour of his factory.

The show is predominately set in Wonka’s magical factory where disadvantaged youth Charlie Bucket finds himself, along with five other children and their chaperones, all of whom have found the much sought after golden tickets hidden in their Wonka Chocolate Bars. While on the tour of Wonka’s top-secret operation, throughout the play, the children each make a series of missteps based on their own character flaws.  Even Charlie, the most pure and good child in the story, doesn’t make it through the tour without succumbing to candy temptation which disqualifies him from receiving what he believes to be the ultimate prize, a ride in Wonka’s Wonkavator, a multi-directional glass elevator.

Charlie, played by Jordan Grinnell, trying for a Golden Ticket that would grant him entrance to the chocolate factory outside the candy store. Staff photo by Amy Cunningham

Charlie, played by Jordan Grinnell, trying for a Golden Ticket that would grant him entrance to the chocolate factory outside the candy store. Staff photo by Amy Cunningham

An incensed Grandpa Joe, Charlie’s chaperone on the tour, threatens to provide Wonka’s prized candy, the Everlasting Gobstopper, to Slugworth as retribution for punishing the boy, but Charlie, despite the wealth the candy could bring him, returns the treat to Wonka.  The candy maker sees that Charlie is noble and good and that he passed the crucial test and should receive the unnamed prize, the keys to Wonka’s factory.

First year theatre teacher Emily Thomas and her cast of 30 students, along with 20 additional crew and musicians have been working on the play for more than a month.

”I chose this musical because it’s family friendly, and I thought a lot of people would recognize the story,” she said.  “The story has a great message; if you’re honest you never know what you might be rewarded with.”

In addition to the talented high school students working on the play, Thomas said that she has also employed the help of eight youngsters in grades four through six.

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