The Geneva School of Boerne Fine Arts Department recently performed Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka” on the stage in the school’s Multi-Purpose Building. The musical was based off the beloved children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” written by Dahl. Over 120 at Geneva School individuals were involved in this production.
In addition to the approximately 30 students named as actors and actresses in the musical, Grammar and Logic students were involved in a Rhetoric School production for the first time. This included 40 fourth and fifth grade Grammar School Choir students who were cast as Oompa-Loompas and 12 Logic School Sixth Grade Choir members who were cast as neighborhood children. These students learned their parts and memorized their songs and choreography independent of the other aspects of the show and were brought in to the last dress rehearsals.
The story focuses on Charlie Bucket, a young boy born with bleak prospects. Although the odds are stacked against him, Charlie never loses faith that his own happy ending is just around the corner.
“Our theme for the school year is ‘Faith’ and producing this musical required quite a bit of it. We tried to borrow some of Charlie’s faith in putting this story together. It was a professional level adaptation with over 50 musical selections to rehearse. The technical challenges were also daunting. From flying grandparents, to shrinking children and human blueberries, this show was meant to be performed on a Broadway-quality stage—we had to make it all work in a multi-purpose building with a modest budget,” Director Rick Poole said. “It feels great to allow an audience to experience a sense of wonder and excitement that isn’t on a digital screen but is happening live, right in front of them,” he added.
The production was performed at four different show times with full audiences on the first weekend in April. Wonka Bars were sold as tickets in advance and at the door as actual chocolate bars with a ticket wrapped around it. There were four “golden tickets” hidden in these Wonka Bars to be selected for each production. Golden ticket winners were given seats in golden chairs on the front row.
“Preparing for this musical, and its many moving parts, was like constructing pieces of a puzzle backwards. We knew the image we wanted to create, but we had to build each independent piece to fill the portrait correctly. In the end, I think we’re all pleased with the picture we created,” Music Director and Oompa Choreography Director Ben Vis said.