It is (chocolate) crunch time for the cast of Willy Wonka, Jr. and director Doug Sanders.
Public performance of the drama department’s production of Roald Dahl’s Wonka are set for 7 p.m., on both Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11 as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 12.
If you’d like to see the musical you can, obviously, purchase a ticket, either in advance at the high school office or at the door, or you could see it for free.
All that requires is, like Charlie Bucket, finding one of the golden tickets, buy purchasing one of the lucky Wonka bars. The chocolate bars are available from any drama department member.
Auditions for the play were held when students returned from the Christmas break and Sanders and the cast began rehearsals shortly thereafter, with Ian Shackleford in the role of Willy Wonka and Farrah Stringer as Charlie Bucket.
Both Shackleford and Stringer are veterans of the BHS stage and, ironically, played the roles of younger and older Simba in last year’s production of The Lion King, Jr. Stringer was also in the cast of Frozen, Jr. two years ago.
Otherwise, the cast is largely a youthful one because graduation last spring was loaded with theatrical experience as well as show choir members who made a natural transition to the stage for multiple musicals.
“I graduated all of my show choir kids with the exception of Ian and Coffee (Smith),” Sanders said.
As a result there are only four seniors in the production this year. Along with Shackleford and Smith, who will appear as Veruca Salt, are Ayiana Patzer as Grandma Georgian, and Savannah Walters as Grandma Josephina.
Neither Smith nor Walters are complete newcomers, having played roles in the Lion King, Jr. last year.
Farris Danes, however is a newcomer. The junior is in the role of Grandpa Jones and has filled a show choir void.
“He’s a good singer as well,” Sanders said of Danes.
Another newcomer is junior Michael McLean who is playing a couple of roles in Mr. Bucket and Mike Teavee.
“I wish I’d had Michael in my plays three years ago, he is a natural. He’s so good at it,” said Sanders.
Sanders said he is also glad to have Malachi Wootten in the role of Augustus Group and Jessica Lewis as Violet Beauregarde. Both are sophomores,
Sanders is also building for the future by using seventh grade choir members as the Oompa-Loompas.
Tickets for the production are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the high school office.