GMS Theater Workshop to present Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Jr. Feb. 11-12


Staff report

GREENVILLE — Greenville Middle School Theater Workshop students will transport Greenville to a “world of pure imagination” with their production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR., a musical based on Roald Dahl’s timeless children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, on February 11 and 12. The honor was announced by Drew Cohen, President of Music Theatre International (MTI).

In Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR., a world-famous reclusive candy man named Willy Wonka announces that he will offer the tour of the lifetime through his secret chocolate factory to five children who find a golden ticket in one of his world-famous candy bars. One ticket-holder will also win a lifetime supply of chocolate. Against all odds, an impoverished, but sweet-natured boy named Charlie Bucket wins a golden ticket. He and his fellow tour members — the spoiled-rotten Veruca Salt, gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde and television junkie Mike Teavee — spend a day traveling with the mysterious and marvelous Willy Wonka and his crew of Oompa Loompas through the fantastical factory. The children encounter marvelous sights and tastes along the way, including giant nut-selecting squirrels, fizzy lifting drinks, Everlasting Gobstoppers, and a chocolate river. But each stop proves to be a test, as only one can go on to win the Wonka prize.

“It takes tremendous imagination to communicate the whimsy and wonder of Willy Wonka’s factory, and it requires great sensitivity to deliver the musical’s key message on the importance of good character,” says Cohen. “We want to applaud the Willy Wonka JR. cast and crew and hope GMS Theater Workshop’s audience will outnumber all the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka’s factory,” he adds.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. is adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald. The show features lyrics and music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, including beloved songs “The Candy Man,” “I Want It Now!” and “Pure Imagination,” from the classic film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Greenville Middle School Theater Workshop was founded by Grace Kensinger and Marty Davis in 1985. This will be the 37th production by the group. The workshop organization is made up of students in grades five through eight, attending the middle School, St. Mary’s and Montessori Schools in Greenville.

Kari Thompson, who is in her seventh year directing the theater workshop group, is thrilled to be putting Willy Wonka Jr. to the stage. “These students have been working hard since November to prepare this production. We have approximately 40 cast and chorus members, and 25 student crew members that will help bring the factory to life.” She continued, “It has been difficult with all of the safety measures for Covid in place but these students have been real troupers and are ready to present an amazing production to the community after not being able to last year.” Greenville will have its own tour of Willy Wonka’s secret factory when GMS Theater Workshop presents Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. on February 11 and 12 at St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville. Golden tickets are $5 presale, and $6 at the door. For more information please call (937) 548-3185 ext. 2338.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by Music Theatre International 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY, (212) 541-4684,

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