Don Reviews "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: The New Musical"
Everyone has those films and stories from their childhood that they truly cherish: the ones that can be watched over and over again and not lose their luster or magic, and in some cases shape the people that we become. As I am getting older, a lot of those stories have become Broadway musicals to a degree of success. Now, when Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” became a musical, I was interested but hopeful it would not flop for me and have me crying like a baby who wants his candy. (See what I did there?)
The legendary Marc Shaiman did the music for this touring production, and it is still the timeless story of Charlie Bucket (played by a rotating trio of actors), a boy who is living with his mother and all four grandparents in a small house. Just like most kids, he loves candy and specifically chocolate, so when a new chocolate store moves into his neighborhood and sells the legendary Wonka candies, he gets excited since the factory is in his town. No one has see Willy Wonka himself (Noah Weisberg) in many years, and one day it is announced that five lucky winners and a chaperone will be given a rare opportunity to tour the factory if they can find a “golden ticket” in one of his candy bars. After Charlie finds the last one, he and his Grandpa Joe (James Young) embark on a great adventure.
To be blunt here: I HATED THIS! There ARE some good things here like the set design, especially the first scene as the characters enter the factory. The amount of detail combined with the technology looked great. I was also impressed by the performance of “If Your Father Were Here” by Amanda Rose as Charlie’s mother. There is a good cast and some great comedic moments as well.
However, for a musical that clocks in at over two hours without the intermission, there was WAY too much that was omitted from some of the more well-known material, especially from the films. This is also way too heavy with unnecessary songs that seem to fill time and not enough of the important points, like the omittance of Mr. Slugworth (who tempts Charlie to break the rules in the factory), some of the details that lead to Charlie’s ticket, and the way a couple of the children’s fate including explosion and being quartered. When that last one happened, I almost got up and walked out of the theater, even if it was done in a way that was not supposed to look realistic; just the concept of it was too much. This musical is on the same level for me that it was for another Dahl book turned musical in “Matilda,” and much like that I will never see it again.