Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: West End
Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the Mel Stuart-directed fantasy-musical film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory continues to delight cineastes and musical theatre enthusiasts alike. Now, the beloved Willy Wonka franchise will make its U.S. premiere on the Great White Way in 2017 with a diverse cast. Multi-ethnic young actors are being asked to audition.
According to a NYC EPA audition call; casting agents are seeking a young African-American actress for the coveted role of Violet Beauregard, as well as an older African-American actor for the role of Mr. Beauregard for a Developmental Lab of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before it then transfer to a Broadway production in Late 2016 / Early 2017. Auditions have been taking place over the course of the summer.
Here’s the cast breakdown:
Short, youthful ADULT female to play a 9-12-year-old girl. African-American. While she’s physically tiny, she has a huge pop/R&B voice, as well as amazing hip-hop dance skills. Confident, forward, and full of attitude. Great singer. PRINCIPAL
Male, 30s-40s. African-American. Violet’s ineffectual father. Ignores his back-talking, insult-hurling daughter. Great dancer with a soul/pop/R&B voice. Beat-boxing skills a plus. PRINCIPAL
In collaboration with Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Kevin McCormick, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London’s West End on June 25, 2013, under the direction of Sam Mendes. Tony winner Douglas Hodge was nominated for the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Willy Wonka.
When it debuts on Broadway next year with some changes under the direction of Jack O’Brien, two-time Tony winner Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Something Rotten!, “Smash”) will star in the lead role. With the upcoming Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the new show tunes by songwriting duo Marc Shaiman (Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, “Smash”) will pay homage to the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley songs written for the 1971 film.
That film, based on the popular 1964 Roald Dahl children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was released on June 30, 1971, where it earned an estimated $4 million at the box office. Having developed a cult following of sorts, the film currently holds an 89 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was the source of inspiration for a 2005 Tim Burton-directed reboot. Comic legend Gene Wilder won the hearts and minds of critics and moviegoers alike, and in 1972, Wilder was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance as the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.
The Public Theater Will Present Hercules Musical & Hercules Is Black!
We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when. Back in 2017, we reported that a musical adaptation of the Disney movie Hercules would be headed to Broadway. Now we can confirm that is somewhat true.
Hercules will be the latest Disney musical to be made for the stage and will play Off-Broadway at the Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park. As the final show of the Shakespeare in the Park season theater season performances will run August 31 through September 8 with a reading set to take place in April.
The role of Hercules will be played by a Black actor, according to the casting notice
The musical will include the Oscar-nominated “Go the Distance, along with other songs from the 1997 animated film by Alan Menken & David Zippel. Presented through an arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, the show will be directed by Lear deBessonet. The creative team also includes a book by Kristoffer Diaz, & choreography by Chase Brock.
Before Hercules, Kenny Leon will direct the Much Ado About Nothing May 21 through June 23 to begin the Shakespeare in the Park season.
Casting for all both productions will be announced at a later date
Lynn Nottage Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Tony Award nominated play Sweat ended its Broadway run at Studio 54 on June 25. We weren’t ready to say goodbye to Sweat, and we’re definitely not ready to say goodbye to Lynn Nottage, leaving us to wonder what’s next for the two-time Pulitzer prize-winning playwright?
First, if you didn’t get a chance to see Sweat on Broadway or if you did but can’t get one of the poorest cities in America off your heart and mind, then you’ll want to visit Reading, Pennsylvania this summer. Shortly after finishing Sweat, Nottage came up with the idea for a site-specific performance installation honoring the people of Reading. Nottage shared that for a city divided by economical and racial politics, she wanted to highlight the city’s potential to use art and culture to bring its citizens together. The installation titled This is Reading will weave “individual stories into one cohesive and compelling tale of the city. Exploring the various viewpoints of the diverse community, [and] give the audience a vibrant and unique perspective of the city of Reading.” The installation will utilize live performance, visual media, and film. Located at Franklin Street Station, Reading PA, This is Reading will run July 14-16, July 21-23 and July 28-30.
What could possibly be next for Nottage? A musical of course!
Not just any musical, but an adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s book, The Secret Life of Bees. Book by Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam) and direction by Sam Gold (Fun Home).
Nottage’s first musical follows the story of Lilly Owens, a white teen growing up in 1960’s South Carolina and her Black caretaker Rosaleen. After Rosaleen is hospitalized following an attempt to vote, she and Lily do their best to escape the harsh realities of their respective lives in the Jim Crow South, and happen upon a bee farm. “It sang to me” Nottage said of adapting Kidd’s book to a musical, “Every page I saw a song.”
The Secret Life of Bees will be presented as a workshop production at the Powerhouse Theater from July 27-29, apart of the New York Stage and Film’s 2017 season.
Finally, for the 2017/2018 season, Nottage’s play Mlima’s Tale will make it’s world premiere at The Public Theater and run from March 27 through May 20, 2018. Mlima’s Tale follows the story of Mlima, an african elephant caught between freedom and the
international ivory black market. Ultimately a story about trade itself, “Mlima leads us through memory and fear, history and tradition, want and need, and reveals the surprising and complicated deals that connect us all.” Next season, The Public will celebrate 50 years at its Astor Place location, and Lynn Nottage will be the only Black playwright with work presented.
From a site-specific performance installation, to her first musical, ending with another show at The Public Theater… Lynn Nottage has given us a lot to look forward to following her Broadway debut, and we will be ready. Sitting front and center.