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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Get your golden ticket to a world of pure imagination

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is a timeless classic about family, magic, justice and candy.

The iconic tale has been adapted to film twice, most recently in 2005 with Johnny Depp as the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.


The 1971 musical, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” is the inspiration for the stage adaptation, “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” featured this upcoming weekend  at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall by the Fort Collins Children’s Theatre.

Included in the musical numbers are instantly recognizable show tunes, such as “The Candy Man,” “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” “Pure Imagination,” and, of course, the Oompa Loompas’ ditties.

“It’ll be a blast from the past for parents who grew up with the 1970s Gene Wilder version,” Director Eleanor VanDeusen said.

According to VanDeusen, a live orchestra, creative special effects, fantastical set designs and unique costuming will be featured. It will make for an entertaining, family-friendly event for audiences.

The modernization of the story will appeal to the whole family — children and adults alike.

According to VanDeusen, they have made some changes, including upgrading character Mike Teevee’s addiction to television into an addiction to his smartphone.

VanDeusen said the ages of the youngsters in the mixed cast of grown ups and kids ranges from 11 to 17 years old. The experienced actors were selected after a series of competitive auditions.

Directing this diverse group was a challenge for VanDeusen, who usually works with adults and children separately, not together. It was fun, especially for the youth, who play larger-than-life characters, both heroic and villainous, within Dahl’s trademark absurd situations.

“Roald Dahl encouraged children to read by writing fun, funny, engaging literature,” VanDeusen said.


The child actors are non-paid community volunteers, according to Emily Cubbage, a senior  journalism major.

According to Cubbage, the company is over 50 years old.

Cubbage said much of the group’s revenue, and many in the cast come from the summer 2012 “Peanut Butter & Jam Revue,” a six-week program for 8-to-13-year-old thespians that specializes in musical production, with scholarships offered to lower income participants.

“They travel around to different schools, recruiting student actors,” Cubbage said.

This play in particular is a historic opportunity for performing arts enthusiasts to enjoy while theaters have the right to show it.

According to Sharon Walker, a Colorado representative of Music Theatre International, their licensing for “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka” is soon to be suspended indefinitely, making this show one of the last to be produced.

“The script is available until June 30,” Walker said. “Then, it will be put back in the vault.”

Come and see the fantasy come to life before it is too late, and make these young actors’ wishes come true.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children twelve years old and younger and $12 for a group of 10 or more.

Admission is free for non-walking infants, and Friday evening’s performance will be signed for the hearing impaired. The Lincoln Center Ticket Office can be contacted at (970) 221-6735 or

Collegian Entertainment Reporter Hunter Goddard can be reached at

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