Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (musical)

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Westend.png
Official London artwork
Music Marc Shaiman
Lyrics Marc Shaiman
Scott Wittman
Book David Greig
Basis Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Productions 2013 West End
2017 Broadway

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a West End musical written by David Greig, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Based on the children's novel of the same name, written by Roald Dahl, it was directed by Sam Mendes. It had its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London on 25 June 2013 with Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka.


The musical is based on the 1964 children's novel by Roald Dahl.[1] A first reading of the first act from the show was carried out in New York City in May 2010,[2] with the intention of opening in London the following year.[3][4]

Officially confirmed on 18 June 2012, producers announced that the show would play the Theatre Royal Drury Lane beginning in May 2013,[5] with tickets going on sale in October 2012.[6] The show was written by playwright David Greig and directed by Sam Mendes, with choreography by Peter Darling, accompanied with the assitance Brandon Duncan, of orchestrations by Doug Besterman, set design by Mark Thompson and lighting design by Paul Pyant.[7] An original score was penned by Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Tony and Grammy winners for Hairspray; Smash).[8] The show presents a more contemporary version of the original story.[9][10]

During previews many changes took place,[11] with the most major change to the show being the addition of the Great Glass Elevator.[12]

Production history[edit]

West End (2013)[edit]

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory bill boards at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 2014.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was scheduled to begin previews on 17 May 2013, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, before holding its official opening night on 25 June 2013.[13][14][15][16] The show was originally due to open at the London Palladium.[17] Douglas Hodge was cast in the lead role of Willy Wonka,[18] with further casting announced on 11 January 2013.[19] Previews of the show were delayed by five days until 22 May,[20] due to "unforeseen problems in the delivery of a piece of stage engineering by a contractor".[21] Shortly after opening night the booking period for the show was extended until May 2014,[22] with a further extension to November 2014, after approximately 300,000 people having attended the show by October 2013.[23] The production booking had been further extended till 3 December 2016.[24] The show currently holds the record for the highest weekly gross in the West End, grossing £1,080,260.00 during the week commencing 30 December 2013.[25] The first major cast change took place in May 2014, when Alex Jennings replaced Hodge as Wonka.[26] In May 2015 a second slew of cast changes took place, with Jonathan Slinger becoming the new Wonka.[27]

A typical West End performance runs 2hrs 30mins, including one interval.[28]

On 23 February 2016, booking was once again extended through 7 January 2017; when it is expected to close.[29]

Broadway (2017)[edit]

The show is set to open on Broadway in spring 2017 with some changes, including new direction by Jack O'Brien (Hairspray, The Sound of Music) and choreography by Josh Bergasse (Gigi, On The Town). Mendes will stay as producer only.[30] O'Brien states the score will pay homage to the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley songs written for the 1971 film and will also feature the songs written by Shaiman and Wittman.[31] In August 2016, O'Brien confirmed that "The Candy Man" and "Pure Imagination" would be included in the musical.[32]

On 9 May 2016 it was announced that the show will open at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre starring Christian Borle as Willy Wonka.[33] Previews are scheduled to begin 28 March 2017, with an opening night on 23 April 2017.[34]


There is a planned UK tour for 2017 with dates, locations and casts to be announced at a later date. [35]


Act I[edit]

The play opens with Charlie Bucket searching for valuables in a dump near his home. As he picks up candy wrappers, he speaks with a mysterious tramp, and heads home to his family ("Almost Nearly Perfect"). His home is a one-room shack under a railway arch. As he and his grandparents wait for their cabbage soup to boil, they tell Charlie about Willy Wonka ("The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka"). After Charlie's father returns home dispirited from lack of work, Charlie pens a letter about chocolate, folds it into a paper airplane and sends it flying out into the night ("A Letter from Charlie Bucket").

The next morning, Mrs. Bucket returns home from her night job and explains to the rest of the family that Willy Wonka is holding a competition where five lucky contestants must buy Wonka Bars to find a Golden Ticket to his factory and a lifetime's supply of candy. Charlie is desperate to win one, but he has no money. On their homemade TV, they hear of the first Golden Ticket winner, an obese Bavarian boy named Augustus Gloop ("More of Him to Love").

They soon learn that another ticket has been found by a spoiled British girl named Veruca Salt. Mr. Salt recounts how he won the ticket for his daughter ("When Veruca Says"). Charlie's birthday arrives, and his grandparents give him a Wonka Bar, but are disappointed when there is no Golden Ticket. As he eats, they hear of the discovery of the third Golden Ticket, in Hollywood by wannabe gum-chewing celebrity, Violet Beauregarde. She and her father brag about how they will now be even more famous because of the Golden Ticket and how Violet is going to be the "biggest" diva ever ("The Double Bubble Duchess"). Shortly after, the TV announces another Golden Ticket discovery, Mike Teavee and the Teavee family. Mike is a violent and obnoxious bully who is addicted to television and video games, and whose frantic mother spoils him rotten and explains his hazardous activities and how he used Wonka's password to get his Golden Ticket. ("It's Teavee Time").

With all but one ticket gone and no money to buy a bar, Charlie is desolate. His parents sing about how they wish they could raise their son together and about how they hope for a better life ("If Your Mother Were Here"). Winter comes, and one day Charlie finds some money dropped by a rich couple. Encouraged by the mysterious tramp, he buys a Wonka Bar, and finds a Golden Ticket inside that prompts Grandpa Joe to get out of bed and walk for the first time in forty years ("Don't Ya Pinch Me, Charlie"). On the day they are to enter the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe feel out of place amidst all the hoopla on the red carpet. Finally, the moment of truth arrives. With a choral fanfare, the factory door swings open and all eyes to turn to see the mysterious Willy Wonka, invites the Golden Ticket winners into his factory to see all the wonders ("It Must Be Believed to Be Seen").

Act II[edit]

Wonka gathers the ticket winners and explains the rules and regulations of the factory ("Strike That! Reverse It!"). With the contracts signed, Wonka then reveals a wonderful garden of candy delights. As the children explore this sugary wonderland, the bewildered adults ask Wonka what its purpose is and Wonka bemusedly explains that is his artwork ("Simply Second Nature"). Veruca breaks the reverie with a scream as Augustus is drinking from the waterfall, into which he falls. As he is sucked up the chocolate extraction pipe, the families look up to see dozens of tiny workers in red boiler suits called Oompa-Loompas, who make no effort to try and save Augustus ("Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop").

With Augustus gone, Wonka is more concerned about the possible contamination of bones in his toffee. The party is shocked and mortified, but Wonka assures them that he'll be fine. The next room is the Inventing Room, where white coated Oompa-Loompas mix and stir. Wonka gives each child an Everlasting Gobstopper, but Violet is unimpressed. Wonka shows her his latest creation, chewing gum which includes an entire 3-Course Dinner. When Violet sees the gum, she pops it into her mouth. Wonka warns her to stop chewing before dessert, but Violet ignores him and begins to turn purple and swell up like a giant blueberry. ("Juicy!"). Violet explodes in a shower of purple blueberry goo and glitter, but Wonka is unconcerned, sending Mr. Beauregarde to the Juicing Room, assuring that it can get her back to normal.

Wonka next leads the party on a high speed tour around the crazy corridors of his factory until, disoriented, they arrive at the Nut Room, where squirrels sort out nuts to see if they are good or bad. The good nuts are kept for them to eat while the bad nuts are thrown away down a rubbish chute. Veruca demands a squirrel. When Wonka refuses, she takes matters into her own hands, rushing to grab one for herself, instead she is judged a “bad nut”, and she and her father are sent down the rubbish chute ("Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet"). Again, Wonka assures the remaining visitors that Veruca and her father will be all right.

Wonka leads the group through dark cellars, where all his mistakes are kept, finally arriving at a room he calls, The Department of the Future. Wonka demonstrates Chocolate Television. Mike is intrigued and despite Wonka's protests, he puts himself before the cameras, presses the remote and disappears in a puff of smoke. Mike hops from screen to screen until they finally pull him out, leaving him at only 6-inches tall. ("Vidiots!"). Mrs. Teevee is relieved as she won’t have to worry about him causing big problems any more, and she places him in her purse and leaves the factory quite satisfied.

Charlie is the only child left. When Grandpa Joe asks about their lifetime supply of confectionery sweets, Mr. Wonka casually dismisses them saying that the Everlasting Gobstopper Charlie had got was the lifetime supply of candy. Grandpa Joe is angry, but Charlie defuses the situation saying that an Everlasting Gobstopper is still an amazing present. When he leaves with Grandpa Joe, Charlie opens a book which contains all of Wonka’s ideas, adding a few of his own to the blank pages in the back. Wonka silently returns, and seeing Charlie’s additions, he tells him he’s won, inviting Charlie into his Great Glass Elevator so that he can show him his prize, the chocolate factory. ("Pure Imagination").

They return to Earth where Wonka announces he’s leaving, and that Charlie is now in charge ("A Little Me"). He disappears, but as the Bucket family moves into the factory, Charlie sees the mysterious tramp outside the gates, who is revealed as Willy Wonka. As the Oompa-Loompas and Charlie wave goodbye from the factory windows, Wonka vanishes, singing a reprise of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", leaving Charlie to ponder all of the adventures that are to come.


Musical numbers[edit]

†Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Music by Anthony Newley for the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. ††Replaced, as of 2016, by "Queen of Pop".

Cast album[edit]

A London original cast album was released on 7 October 2013.[37]

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical (Cast Cd).jpg.png
Soundtrack album cast recording by Various
Released 7 October 2013 (2013-10-07)
Length 69:08
Label Sony Classical Records[38]
No. Title Length
1. "Opening"   0:46
2. "Almost Nearly Perfect"   2:57
3. "The Amazing Fantastical History Of Mr. Willy Wonka"   5:23
4. "A Letter From Charlie Bucket"   3:33
5. "News Of Augustus"   1:03
6. "More Of Him To Love"   2:12
7. "News Of Veruca"   0:36
8. "When Veruca Says"   1:34
9. "News Of Violet"   0:26
10. "The Double Bubble Duchess"   2:48
11. "News Of Mike"   0:09
12. "It's Teavee Time"   3:27
13. "If Your Mother Was Here"   3:41
14. "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie"   6:04
15. "It Must Be Believed To Be Seen"   4:35
16. "Strike That, Reverse It"   5:30
17. "The Chocolate Room"   1:32
18. "Simply Second Nature"   3:24
19. "Augustus' Downfall"   0:38
20. "Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop"   2:34
21. "Gum!"   0:53
22. "Juicy!"   2:20
23. "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet"   2:15
24. "Vidiots"   3:02
25. "Pure Imagination"   3:40
26. "A Little Me"   2:40
27. "It Must Be Believed To Be Seen (reprise)"   2:06

Principal roles and cast members[edit]

Director Sam Mendes during the opening at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Character Original West End Cast (2013)[39] Original Broadway Cast (2017)
Charlie Bucket Jack Costello, Tom Klenerman, Isaac Rouse, Louis Suc
Willy Wonka Douglas Hodge Christian Borle
Grandpa Joe Nigel Planer Ken Marks
Mr. Salt Clive Carter
Veruca Salt Polly Allen, Tia Noakes, Ellie Simons
Mrs. Gloop Jasna Ivir Kathy Fitzgerald
Augustus Gloop Harrison Slater, Jenson Steele, Regan Stokes F. Michael Haynie
Mr. Beauregarde Paul J. Medford Alan H. Green
Violet Beauregarde India Ria Amarteifio, Adrianna Bertola, Jade Johnson, Mya Olaye Trista Dollivan
Mrs. Teavee Iris Roberts Jackie Hoffman
Mike Teavee Jay Heyman, Adam Mitchell, Luca Toomey
Grandma Josephine Roni Page
Grandma Georgina & Grandpa George Myra Sands and Billy Boyle
Mr & Mrs Bucket Alex Clatworthy and Jack Shalloo Lisa O'Hare
Mrs. Pratchett Michelle Bishop
Jerry/Lovebird Man Ross Dawes
Cherry/Lovebird Woman Kate Graham
Oompa-Loompas Ensemble

Notable West End replacements[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory received mixed to positive reviews from critics.[40] While the physical production and quality of the performances were generally praised, the score and storytelling received criticism.

Awards and nominations[edit]

London production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2013 Evening Standard Award Best Night Out Nominated[41] [41]
2014 Awards Best New Musical Nominated[42] [43]
Best Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Nominated[42]
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Nigel Planer Nominated[42]
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Iris Roberts Nominated[42]
Best Set Designer Mark Thompson Won[42]
Best Choreographer Peter Darling Won[42]
Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Nominated [44][45]
Best Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Nigel Planer Nominated
Best Set Design Mark Thompson Nominated
Best Costume Design Won
Best Lighting Design Paul Pyant Won
Best Theatre Choreographer Peter Darling Nominated


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  15. ^ Trueman, Matt (18 June 2012). "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical gets golden ticket to West En". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
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  17. ^ "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moves from Palladium to Drury Lane". The Stage. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
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  28. ^ "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory". London Theatreland. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to finish West End run". Whats on Stage. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  30. ^ BWW News Desk. "Broadway's Got the Golden Ticket! Jack O'Brien-Helmed CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Will Arrive in Spring 2017". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  31. ^ Andrea Towers. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical coming to Broadway". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  32. ^ Ale Russian. "Willy Wonka arrives on Broadway for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Watch the Teaser Trailers". Retrieved 2016-08-08. 
  33. ^ "Christian Borle to Play Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway; Theater Set". Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  34. ^ Gans, Andrew. " 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Sets Broadway Dates" Playbill, August 8, 2016
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  36. ^ a b Twitter / westendboy1: @CSGreen123 Here are the musical
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  41. ^ a b "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2013: Book of Mormon voted Best Night Out in London". London Evening Standard. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
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  44. ^ "Olivier awards 2014: musicals lead nominations". The Guardian. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  45. ^ "Olivier awards 2014 the full nominations". The Guardian. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 

External links[edit]