October 20, 2014

Curtain to rise on community theater production of Willy Wonka

Cooper McGuire, Gardner, portrays the Candy Man in Gardner Community Theatre’s production of Willy Wonka. The show features a cast of more than 65 people. Based on Ronald Dahl’s classic book of the same title, the show opens this weekend at Wheatridge Middle School. Submitted photo

Cooper McGuire, Gardner, portrays the Candy Man in Gardner Community Theatre’s production of Willy Wonka. The show features a cast of more than 65 people. Based on Ronald Dahl’s classic book of the same title, the show opens this weekend at Wheatridge Middle School. Submitted photo

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
When faulty air conditioning threatened to overheat the show, Gardner Community Theatre (GCT) cast and crew displayed the gumption of a young Charlie Bucket, the protagonist from the theater’s summer musical, Willy Wonka.
In the show, Bucket overcomes the odds and finds a Golden Ticket that allows him access to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
In Gardner, GCT overcame a faulty air conditioning system and found a new place for their summer production.
Willy Wonka director Becky DeNoon, said originally the community theater production was to be staged at Gardner Edgerton High School.
“We prepared everything for the high school stage,” DeNoon said. “We moved to Wheatridge (Middle School) stage, which caused us to majorly change the way the stage was set up. So that’s been a challenge. Everyone has stepped up – the cast, the crew, the families.”
The cast of 65 people, including children and adults, has been rehearsing the show since April. DeNoon estimates they’ve put in more than 200 hours each to bring the Ronald Dahl’s classic tale to life.
Willy Wonka tells the story of an eccentric and secretive candy maker, who hosts a contest that will allow five lucky children the opportunity to tour his chocolate factory. The protagonist, Bucket, defies the odds to claim one of the golden tickets and attend the tour.
DeNoon said the GCT performance isn’t an exact duplicate of the classic, 1970s film version, but the basic story is similar.
“Poor little Charlie Bucket and his loving family magically get a golden ticket and get to tour the factory along with five other children,” DeNoon said. “They all learn some life lessons along the way.”
The show will open for five runs at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26 at Wheatridge Middle School, 318 Washington Street. Other showings will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28. There will also be matinees at 2 p.m. on June 28 and Sunday, June 29.
DeNoon said those who attend will see some amazing talent.
“People should expect to be bowled over by the talent,” DeNoon said. “We’ve brought in some new faces and some new talent.”
Of note, DeNoon said is Will Perry, who plays Willy Wonka, is new to GCT. He recently performed with the Lyric Opera.
“It’s been a lot of fun seeing old familiars and welcoming in some new, too,” DeNoon said. “When you do a show like this, you become a family.”
Tickets for the productions will be available at the door an hour before each show and online at the GCT website, www.GardnerTheatre.org.
7 p.m. Thursday, June 26
7 p.m. Friday, June 27
2 p.m. Saturday, June 28
7 p.m. Saturday, June 28
2 p.m. Sunday, June 29

All shows will be performed at Wheatridge Middle School Auditorium. Tickets are available one hour prior to showtime at the door, or online at www.GardnerTheatre.org.

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