Hillsboro High School will present “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” a musical adaptation of Dahl’s book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The story is perhaps better known from two film adaptations starring Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp as the candy tycoon Wonka.
It will be director Lynn Just’s 20th musical at HHS. Just said she chose the musical because she considered it a good fit for the students she expected to be involved, and they haven’t disappointed her. Dylan Nelson stars as Charlie Bucket, and Daniel Nelson plays Wonka. Molly Wiebe and Graham Pankratz play Charlie’s parents, and Peyton Loewen, Danae Bina, Clay Ethridge, and Tanner Sechrist play his grandparents, all with strong comedic sensibilities, Just said. She also praised the students playing the other children who found “golden tickets” for a tour of Wonka’s factory.
“The grandparents are really funny,” Daniel Nelson said. “I think they’ll get the most laughs.”
The musical adaptation has similarities with both movies and the book. It also gives leeway on whether to present it as a spooky, creepy musical or more child-friendly. Just said she is aiming for a child-friendly version, because the musical offers lessons that can be lost if it is made too spooky.
“I don’t want to be too creepy, but I know he (Wonka) has been in the factory so long, he isn’t really with the times,” Nelson said of his role.
Nelson previously played Augustus Gloop in a school production of the musical when he was a freshman in Illinois. He said his favorite scene is “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” a big musical number at the end of the first act.
Just said the cast of 36 is doing well with limited rehearsal time. One benefit of the chosen musical is the iconic songs from the movie adaptation starring Wilder.
“It’s been really easy for them, because they’re familiar with (the songs),” and can listen to them online, she said.
The hardest part of the musical numbers has been choreographing the large group numbers, because other activities make it difficult to get everyone at rehearsal at the same time.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 9, and 10 in the HHS auditorium. If there is a conflict with the football team in the state playoffs, the Nov. 9 show will be moved to Nov. 12. Tickets cost $5 and may be reserved by calling the HHS office at (620) 947-3991.