The Driftwood Players' Willy Wonka is a sweet treat of pure childhood nostalgia

Friday, December 1, 2023

Bucket Family (L-R): Stephanie Marshall, Brian Knudson, Nina McKinstry, Jeff Strom, Jennifer Nielsen, Vicki Wicks, Marty Wicks. Photo by Dale Sutton of Magic Photo.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse

Adapted for the Stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald
Based on the Book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl
Directed by Jenny Cross

November 24 - December 17, 2023 
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.
Wade James Theatre, 950 Main Street, Edmonds.

Tickets: $28 General Adults (ages 19-59); $25 Junior/Senior/Military. 

Performances of this classic musical are completely sold out; however as any seats open up along the way, they will be available at this link.

Factory (L-R): Shannon Johnson, Cindy Chen, Jeff Strom, BJ Smyth, Nina McKinstry, Sarah McBride, Russell Presho, Kanton Budge. Photo by Dale Sutton of Magic Photo.

By Kindle Carpp

Having grown up in the 80s, the 1971 Charlies & the Chocolate Factory frequently featured in my childhood, so it was quite a treat to see a live production.

There were a few changes from my childhood classic that I was quite charmed by, namely the inclusion of The Squirrels and additional musical pieces.

The Gene Wilder movie switched out The Squirrels from the book for chocolate-laying geese. I suspect that it was the 70s lack of cgi and their need to use puppetry that led to this decision. However, this stage production did not allow size to be an issue, allowing for four foot tall, nut-cracking squirrels.

The second change was the inclusion of additional musical numbers. I particularly enjoyed "I Eat More" sung by Augustus Gloop and his mother.

A minimalist setting was created with projections on a background screen. The lack of scenery made every prop and costume invaluable. Thankfully the costumes and props were on point.  

Some of the costume highlights were Willy Wonka, the Oompa Loompas, and Veruca Salt.

The boat was the highlight of the props, as it sailed around the stage with a load of passengers.

A joy and a delight of the stage direction was the oompa loompas, as they transformed into the machinery of a candy-making gumball machine.

BJ Smyth's Willy Wonka was the backbone of the show.
Photo by Dale Sutton of Magic Photo.

Out of such a large ensemble there were some standout performances. 
  • Kendra Tamär Budd (Ms. Beauregarde) is a gem and sure to be an audience favorite.
  • Royce Napolitino (Phineous Trout) you can't take your eyes off of him. Half of his performance genius was his facial expressions.
  • Merry Senn (Mrs. Gloop) Mama Gloop's humorous interpretation leaves a lasting impression in spite of her short time on stage.
  • Shannon Johnson (Veruca Salt) draws the eye with her strong performance.
  • BJ Smyth (Willy Wonka) (cameo as Candy Man) was the backbone of the show. 
All in all this production was a sweet treat of pure childhood nostalgia.

Edmonds Driftwood Players is a volunteer-based nonprofit community theatre that is proud to have been entertaining audiences in the Pacific Northwest since 1958, making EDP one of the oldest operating community theatres in Washington State. 
As we celebrate our 65th Season in Edmonds, we would like to thank the community for their continued support of local theatre.” -Katie Soulé, Managing Director


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