Oklahoma City

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-10-27 21:55:37 –

Oklahoma City (Free press) — When artists and groups try to recreate or reimagine a story that is so famous and beloved as a masterpiece to date, it can be daunting. There are always many comparisons, but they are not always appropriate.

New works are worth considering, judging and evaluating on purely unique terms. The new adaptation can define itself in a variety of novel ways and create its own language or stamp in the history of the source material.

But if the new adaptation invites a comparison with the previous classic very openly and explicitly asks its audience to connect the two, except to consider and judge for that classic version. There is no choice in.

This is the case with Broadway’s Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Currently, the tour company’s production is being performed at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City until October 31st.

First of all, the cast is noteworthy. This is a tough show both voice and body. Not only does almost everyone on stage sing, but there are also loads of falling, slipping, slipping, and other fantastic Shenanigans, not to mention dancing and choreography. All of these are wonderfully impressive, even acrobatic or balletic. in some cases.

All performers on stage throughout the night will undoubtedly move, sing and dance. From costumes to lighting to stage design to orchestras, this level of stage production is unmatched. It’s a legally great production, and the elements themselves are commendable.

So do the co-leading performers, Cody Garcia as himself, Willy Wonka, and the young William Goldsman as the famous Charlie Bucket (in the performance I attended). Garcia gave Wonka some fun and youthfulness without falling into the misunderstood and bizarre Michael Jackson impersonation that Johnny Depp imposed on us in Tim Burton’s similarly misunderstood film adaptation. Brings grace. And Goldsman incredibly projected unrestrained wonders and childlike imaginations, so it was difficult to avoid getting caught up in the same feelings from time to time.

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Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cast. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Also noteworthy is Charlie’s mother, Claire Reiden as Mrs. Bucket. She hasn’t been given much to serve the story, but her portrayal of a young working widow smiling through daily pain is really beautiful, and her one solo song “Your Father “If you were here” conveys an emotional eye-catcher all night long.

Unfortunately, this is where both the comparison with the classics and the problem of this new adaptation begin.

As I said, this play quite openly invites a comparison with the beloved 1971 classic “Dream Chocolate Factory” starring the legendary Gene Wilder. Wonka’s main wardrobe, including hair, is clearly drawn from the movie, with all seemingly randomly selected songs.

The play soon begins with the classic sweets shop “Candyman,” but here Wonka himself, not the kind shopkeeper, sings and appears on stage to showcase this version of the story’s main beliefs: Willy Wonka. Is depressed due to lack of interest in his candy, the lack of imagination of modern children, and above all, the decline in Wonka chocolate sales.

You read that right. This Wonka has a pretty good deal of capitalism, at least until the beginning of the story … and few others.

For fans of Roald Dahl’s original novels, as well as the original films, it’s an impressive and shocking change. The 1971 film was a stunning parody of its unstoppable force in the face of rampant capitalism and competition. Veruca Salt’s father owns a factory and forces workers to enslave unwrapping candy bars until they find their daughter’s voucher. Mr. Borigard is a car salesperson who used his wealth and status to find a ticket for his daughter who is crazy about gum. Both the Gloops and Teavee families have been shown to be wealthy in their own right, at least enough to nourish their children’s attachments and give them what they want.

Both books and original films, and even Burton’s films (at least to some extent), are fairly clear parables about the dangers of spoiling, qualifying, or greedily raising your child.

Charlie was a hero because he wasn’t qualified and didn’t request it. He was kind, generous, and above all honest. In 1971 Charlie stole Wonka’s Fiji Lifting Drink and put a top secret Everlasting Gobstopper in his pocket, but he finally rethought it and cleaned it up in the name of honesty and kindness. That’s why he made him the right choice to replace Wonka.

In this new stage musical, the entire core moral issue is reused and replaced by a frankly tired, arguably lazy statement about children’s lack of imagination today.

The bulging wealth and obvious capitalist overtones of the children and their parents are completely shiny with little emphasis. For example, this version of Mike Teavee is free to “hack” Wonka’s system in order to steal tour tickets without clear results or disqualification.All of these kids are just uncomfortable, modern kids crazy about social media, which has been revealed to the audience over and over again. that It’s their biggest problem.

Meanwhile, Wonka opens a candy store down the street from Charlie in disguise to increase profits (which also seems to be his greatest concern). He then spends the entire first half of the play, honestly, treating Charlie like garbage.

He is … mean. I can’t think of any more words for this Wonka. He is just mean.

As ticket owners gather at the factory and the fateful tour begins at the beginning of Act 2, the story almost unfolds, as you know. Obviously this version doesn’t have any pain in killing the kids, but the kids are punished one by one.

One of them explodes just outside the stage. The other is torn apart with a panoramic view of the audience, allowing male-sized squirrels to be seen with their heads raised. It is certainly a kind of ignorant violence that pleases and draws the children of the audience, but it is exactly the same kind of violence that Dahl himself so lamented in entertainment.

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William Goldsman as Charlie Bucket. Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Even one of the child characters, who behaves like antidepressants, alcoholics, and heroin-addicted junkies, is ubiquitous with jokes, with compulsive scratches.

It’s hard to know exactly which audience all of these are for.

The story is clearly designed to teach kids to clean up their phones and computers and drop their Tik-Toking and Instagramming, and it’s the “Queen of Pop” disposable hip-hop and the terrible “bidiot.” However, the inclusion of classic numbers such as “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man” is solely intended to provide parents with their unprecedentedly lucrative nostalgia.

However, I didn’t have to do this. This American Broadway version of the story is an almost complete remodeling of the successful West End work first devised for the London stage by acclaimed director Sam Mendes and the theater’s great Marc Shaiman. That version is confident that it will retain the character of Wonka without compromising the spirit of the story and rely on its own original songs, except for the emotional climax set entirely on “pure imagination.”

Apparently, someone decided that American kids wouldn’t accept it all, so the whole story was rethought and most of the musical numbers were rewritten, perhaps to better hold the attention of the young American audience. A childhood adult perception in exactly the same way that Dahl’s work rejected.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” whether it’s an original novel or an old-fashioned movie classic, is told from the perspective of a childish mind who doesn’t understand a desolate, exhausted adult. This Broadway musical version is spoken from the perspective of an apparently adult mindset who doesn’t understand modern children.

The original West End piece gets most of the classic elements right. The Broadway versions hosted by Civic Center are very wrong with most of them.

Don’t get me wrong, the production is impressive, the performance is great, many of the songs are catchy, and if you have small kids (and you can take the COVID test in advance), the whole family is probably fun and cheerful. Enjoy the entertainment at night. This is a great way to show your kids the magic of a live musical theater. Don’t expect the resonance and emotional longevity of Dar’s book or the original movie.

Still, it’s better than Tim Burton’s movie.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is currently being performed at the Civic Center Music Hall until October 31st, announced by OKC Broadway. Tickets and information can be found at okcciviccenter.com and okcbroadway.com.


Last updated: October 27, 2021 8:55 pm Brett Dickerson-Editor

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