A Dahl classic taking to the Paramount stage; MCT presents ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’

Published 8:54 am Thursday, April 12, 2018

In continuing with its seasonal theme of plays based on books, Matchbox Children’s Theatre will perform Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” this weekend at the Historic Paramount Theatre.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is a great book and a lot of people are not familiar with the book, only with seeing the movie,” said director Randy Forster. “There are a lot of different books Roald Dahl wrote that are wonderful stories. I think it’s fun to bring a story like that to the stage and see how the characters come to life.”

While the stage version follows the original Dahl story, the set and costume designs are a throwback to the 1971 Gene Wilder movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

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“We decided to go with a 60s and 70s vibe with the costumes and the look,” Forster said. “The Oompa-Loompas look very similar to the (Gene Wilder) movie and we thought it would be fun to do the wild, psychedelic colors with the rest of the costumes. Matchbox has never done a show in that time period before and I jokingly say it is worth the price of admission just to see these costumes.”

Over 75 children attended the auditions for the show, making Forster’s task of assigning roles difficult. The cast consists of many new faces as well as some familiar ones.

The narrators Lydia Wik, left, and Blythe Johnson introduce people to “Charlie and Chocolate Factory” Tuesday night at the Paramount Theatre. Lydia Wik and Blythe Johnson

“We have a lot of new kids in the cast this year,” Forster said. “We have a lot of seasoned veterans, too, that are playing the roles of the parents. We have Eric Sippel, who has never been in a play at the Paramount before, playing Willy Wonka.”

Forster said that Sippel has prior stage experience performing for Riverland and Summerset theatres.

Showtimes for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for youth ages 14 and under.

For more information, call 507-433-1931 or go to www.matchboxchildrenstheatre.org.

“Everybody needs to come see the play to just enjoy seeing all of these young actors on the stage,” Forster said. “It’s fun to see them play their individual roles and characters. I guarantee that you will be amazed at all the young talent that we have on the stage. It’s a fun, family-friendly show.”

Cast list

Narrators – Lydia Wik and Blythe Johnson

Augustus Gloop – Nathan Martinson

Veruca Salt – Madison Tuttle

Violet Beauregarde – Lilly Loverink

Mike Teavee – Brenan Winkels

Mr. Bucket – Jadon Fimon

Mrs. Bucket – Marlea Emberson

Grandma Josephine – Cate Goodnature

Grandpa George – Wayne Goodnature

Grandma Georgina – Andie Lewis

Grandpa Joe – Paul Burger

Charlie Bucket – Zachary Evenson

Mrs. Gloop – Diedre Smith

Willy Wonka – Eric Sippel

Mrs. Teavee – Emily Miller

Mr. Salt – Chris Williams

Mrs. Beauregarde – Janet Anderson

Oompa-Loompas – Sam Wiks, Jude Hovland, Matthew Phanchan, Ayden Keefe, Sawyer Graff, Reese Norton, Sadie Coddington, and McKenna Donovan