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‘Willy Wonka Junior’ Opens Tonight at LMS

Musical Production is ‘93 Percent Perspiration… 2 Percent Butterscotch Ripple’

The 28-member cast of Ledyard Middle School’s “Willy Wonka Junior” has been rehearsing since February. When the curtain opens tonight at 7 p.m., they will become “the music makers, the dreamers of dreams.”

And you won’t want to miss seeing Violet Beauregarde, played by Olivia Triplett, turn into a blueberry.

“These kids have been rehearsing six days a week,” said parent volunteer Michelle Hinton, who has two children, Logan and Haley, in the show. “A lot has come together over the last 48 hours. All the loose ends are getting tied up.”

Hinton said the production has been a unique experience for cast members.

“This is a group of kids who typically wouldn’t hang out together,” she said. “Some are athletic, some are really into academics. But they’ve all come together and they’re working like a team. They’re fabulous.”

So shines a good deed in a wary world.

The casting of Patrick Strout as Willy Wonka, an enigmatic character who lives in a world of imagination, was inspired. “He’s a special kid,” said director Dan Reilly. “Just a very, very talented, always singing, fantastic kid.”

Casting a girl, Sarah Stryker, in the role of Charlie was equally inspired.

“Sarah is a great actress and a great singer,” Reilly said. “She has lots of energy and a real good presence. She’s very comfortable on the stage.”

Not to mention her uncanny talent for burping on command.

Reilly said girls actually are cast in the Charlie role about as often as boys. “At this age you get a lot of girls who are wanting to do that performance. It’s a good role. You just have to modify a few pronouns.”

He said casting in general is all about using available talent in a creative way. “You try to put the best talent in the best roles. And the three roles that really go through the whole show are Willy Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe, played by Alec Chattin. They’re the ones that everything kind of revolves around.”

Reilly said one reason he chose to produce “Willy Wonka” is because it is familiar to most kids today.

“That’s mostly because of the Johnny Depp version from several years ago,” he said. “This production is more of the classic Gene Wilder version, although there’s a little bit of both Johnny Depp and Gene Wilder.”

Both tonight's performance and an encore performance on Saturday at 7 p.m. are at the Ledyard Middle School. Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for students, and are available at the door. The colorful sets and costuming alone are worth the price of admission.

Michelle Hinton April 08, 2011 at 12:16 PM
This play is Super-Duper! Funny, colorful, creative- it proves that hard-work really does pay off for all involved. I'm so proud of everyone involved! Can't wait to see it tonight AND Saturday night!
Olivia Triplett April 08, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Thank you very much for mentioning me!! I appreciate it! -Olivia
Megan Brawner April 08, 2011 at 09:43 PM
Awesome!
Hayley Proctor April 09, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Sickkkkkkk! I cant wait to go tomorrow!!
Hayley Proctor April 09, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Olvia< Your Amazingly awesome< I heard alot bout your part ! ♥
Stephanie Calhoun April 09, 2011 at 01:58 PM
If you had a chance to see Willy Wonka last night you should head to Gallup Hill to see students from all three elementary schools perform in Disney's Aladdin Kids today. They were AMAZING last night!!! The show begins at 1pm. Tickets are $4.
Sharon Stryker April 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM
So proud of our grand daughter Sarah Stryker for her role as Charlie in Willy Wonka. Our front row seat allowed us to video the performance and appreciate all the interaction of the cast and crew. Kudos to Mr. Reilly for his dedication to this work and hope the kids will remember how they learned to work together in a supportive way. ART teacher's support with scenery and props was so important. Great job! Thanks to all for a family presentation!

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