Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a stage musical based on the children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, with book by David Greig, music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

The musical premiered in London’s West End at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in June 2013 and ran for 3 years and 7 months before closing in January 2017. The show was reworked for a Broadway production opening in April 2017 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.


The musical is based on the 1964 children’s novel by Roald Dahl.[1] A first reading of the first act from the show was carried out in New York City in May 2010,[2] with the intention of opening in London the following year.[3][4]

Officially confirmed on 18 June 2012, producers announced that the show would play the London Palladium beginning in May 2013,[5] with tickets going on sale in October 2012, before the venue was later changed to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.[6]

The book was written by playwright David Greig with original score composed by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.[7] The production was directed by Sam Mendes, with choreography by Peter Darling, accompanied with the assistance Brandon Duncan, set design by Mark Thompson and lighting design by Paul Pyant.[8]

The show presents a more contemporary version of the original story.[9][10] During previews many changes took place,[11] with the most major change to the show being the addition of the Great Glass Elevator.[12]

Production History

West End (2013)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was scheduled to begin previews on 17 May 2013, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, before holding its official opening night on 25 June 2013.[13][14][15][16] The show was originally due to open at the London Palladium.[17] Douglas Hodge was cast in the lead role of Willy Wonka,[18] with further casting announced on 11 January 2013.[19] Previews of the show were delayed by five days until 22 May,[20] due to “unforeseen problems in the delivery of a piece of stage engineering by a contractor”.[21] Shortly after opening night the booking period for the show was extended until May 2014,[22] with a further extension to November 2014, after approximately 300,000 people having attended the show by October 2013.[23] The production booking had been further extended till 3 December 2016.[24] The show currently holds the record for the highest weekly gross in the West End, grossing £1,080,260 during the week commencing 30 December 2013.[25] The first major cast change took place in May 2014, when Alex Jennings replaced Hodge as Wonka.[26] In May 2015 a second cast change took place, with Jonathan Slinger as Wonka.[27]

On 23 February 2016, booking was once again extended through January 2017.[28]

The West End production closed at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 7 January 2017, after running 1293 days at the theatre.

Broadway (2017)

A reworked version of the show opened on Broadway in spring 2017 with changes including new direction by Jack O’Brien, choreography by Josh Bergasse and a new set design by original designer Mark Thompson. Mendes stays as producer only.[29] O’Brien stated the score would pay homage to the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley songs written for the 1971 film and would also feature the songs written by Shaiman and Wittman.[30] In August 2016, O’Brien confirmed that “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination” would be included in the musical.[31]

On 9 May 2016 it was announced that the show will open at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre starring Christian Borle as Willy Wonka.[32] Previews began on 28 March 2017 and an opening night occurred on 23 April 2017.[33] Reviews of the production were mixed to negative, with some critics citing poor staging and restructuring of the story as primary issues. [34]

For this production, the characters of Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregard, Veruca Salt and Mike Teavee are played by adult actors, unlike the child actors in the London production, while the character of Charlie remains to be played by child actors.[35]

Forthcoming UK Tour

In the announcement of the closure of the London production, it was also announced that a UK tour was planned along with the Broadway production with dates, locations and casts to be announced at a later date.[36]



Act I

The play opens with Charlie Bucket searching for valuables in a dump near his home. As he picks up candy wrappers, he speaks with a mysterious tramp, and heads home to his family (“Almost Nearly Perfect”). His home is a one-room shack under a railway arch. As he and his grandparents wait for their cabbage soup to boil, they tell Charlie about Willy Wonka (“The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka”). After Charlie’s father returns home dispirited from lack of work, Charlie pens a letter about chocolate, folds it into a paper airplane and sends it flying out into the night (“A Letter from Charlie Bucket”).

The next morning, Mrs. Bucket returns home from her night job and explains to the rest of the family that Willy Wonka is holding a competition where five lucky contestants must buy Wonka Bars to find a Golden Ticket to his factory and a lifetime’s supply of candy. Charlie is desperate to win one, but he has no money. On their homemade TV, they hear of the first Golden Ticket winner, an obese Bavarian boy named Augustus Gloop (“More of Him to Love”).

They soon learn that another ticket has been found by a spoiled British girl named Veruca Salt. Mr. Salt recounts how he won the ticket for his daughter (“When Veruca Says”). Charlie’s birthday arrives, and his grandparents give him a Wonka Bar, but are disappointed when there is no Golden Ticket. As he eats, they hear of the discovery of the third Golden Ticket, in Hollywood by wannabe gum-chewing celebrity, Violet Beauregarde. She and her father brag about how they will now be even more famous because of the Golden Ticket and how Violet is going to be the “biggest” diva ever (“The Double Bubble Duchess”). Shortly after, the TV announces another Golden Ticket discovery, Mike Teavee and the Teavee family. Mike is a violent and obnoxious bully who is addicted to television and video games, and whose frantic mother spoils him rotten and explains his hazardous activities and how he used Wonka’s password to get his Golden Ticket. (“It’s Teavee Time”).

With all but one ticket gone and no money to buy a bar, Charlie is desolate. His parents sing about how they wish they could raise their son together and about how they hope for a better life (“If Your Mother Were Here”). Winter comes, and one day Charlie finds some money dropped by a rich couple. Encouraged by the mysterious tramp, he buys a Wonka Bar, and finds a Golden Ticket inside that prompts Grandpa Joe to get out of bed and walk for the first time in forty years (“Don’t Ya Pinch Me, Charlie”). On the day they are to enter the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe feel out of place amidst all the hoopla on the red carpet. Finally, the moment of truth arrives. With a choral fanfare, the factory door swings open and all eyes to turn to see the mysterious Willy Wonka, invites the Golden Ticket winners into his factory to see all the wonders (“It Must Be Believed to Be Seen”).

Act II

Wonka gathers the ticket winners and explains the rules and regulations of the factory (“Strike That! Reverse It!”). With the contracts signed, Wonka then reveals a wonderful garden of candy delights. As the children explore this sugary wonderland, the bewildered adults ask Wonka what its purpose is and Wonka bemusedly explains that is his artwork (“Simply Second Nature”). Veruca breaks the reverie with a scream as Augustus is drinking from the waterfall, into which he falls. As he is sucked up the chocolate extraction pipe, the families look up to see dozens of tiny workers in red boiler suits called Oompa-Loompas, who make no effort to try and save Augustus (“Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop”).

With Augustus gone, Wonka is more concerned about the possible contamination of bones in his toffee. The party is shocked and mortified, but Wonka assures them that he’ll be fine. The next room is the Inventing Room, where white coated Oompa-Loompas mix and stir. Wonka gives each child an Everlasting Gobstopper, but Violet is unimpressed. Wonka shows her his latest creation, chewing gum which includes an entire 3-Course Dinner. When Violet sees the gum, she pops it into her mouth. Wonka warns her to stop chewing before dessert, but Violet ignores him and begins to turn purple and swell up like a giant blueberry. (“Juicy!”). Violet explodes in a shower of purple blueberry goo and glitter, but Wonka is unconcerned, sending Mr. Beauregarde to the Juicing Room, assuring that it can get her back to normal.

Wonka next leads the party on a high speed tour around the crazy corridors of his factory until, disoriented, they arrive at the Nut Room, where squirrels sort out nuts to see if they are good or bad. The good nuts are kept for them to eat while the bad nuts are thrown away down a rubbish chute. Veruca demands a squirrel. When Wonka refuses, she takes matters into her own hands, rushing to grab one for herself, instead she is judged a “bad nut”, and she and her father are sent down the rubbish chute (“Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet”). Again, Wonka assures the remaining visitors that Veruca and her father will be all right.

Wonka leads the group through dark cellars, where all his mistakes are kept, finally arriving at a room he calls, The Department of the Future. Wonka demonstrates Chocolate Television. Mike is intrigued and despite Wonka’s protests, he puts himself before the cameras, presses the remote and disappears in a puff of smoke. Mike hops from screen to screen until they finally pull him out, leaving him at only 6-inches tall. (“Vidiots!”). Mrs. Teevee is relieved as she won’t have to worry about him causing big problems any more, and she places him in her purse and leaves the factory quite satisfied.

Charlie is the only child left. When Grandpa Joe asks about their lifetime supply of confectionery sweets, Mr. Wonka casually dismisses them saying that the Everlasting Gobstopper Charlie had got was the lifetime supply of candy. Grandpa Joe is angry, but Charlie defuses the situation saying that an Everlasting Gobstopper is still an amazing present. When he leaves with Grandpa Joe, Charlie opens a book which contains all of Wonka’s ideas, adding a few of his own to the blank pages in the back. Wonka silently returns, and seeing Charlie’s additions, he tells him he’s won, inviting Charlie into his Great Glass Elevator so that he can show him his prize, the chocolate factory. (“Pure Imagination”).

They return to Earth where Wonka announces he’s leaving, and that Charlie is now in charge (“A Little Me”). He disappears, but as the Bucket family moves into the factory, Charlie sees the mysterious tramp outside the gates, who is revealed as Willy Wonka. As the Oompa-Loompas and Charlie wave goodbye from the factory windows, Wonka vanishes, singing a reprise of “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen”, leaving Charlie to ponder all of the adventures that are to come.

Musical Numbers


Act I [37]

  • “Creation Overture” – Willy Wonka
  • “Almost Nearly Perfect” – Charlie Bucket
  • “The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka” – Grandparents
  • “A Letter from Charlie Bucket” – Charlie Bucket, Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket, Grandparents
  • “More of Him to Love” – Mrs. Gloop, Augustus Gloop, Mr. Gloop
  • “When Veruca Says” – Mr. Salt, Veruca Salt
  • “The Double Bubble Duchess”†† – Mr. Beauregarde, Violet Beauregarde, Ensemble
  • “It’s Teavee Time” – Mrs. Teavee, Mike Teavee
  • “If Your Mother Were Here” – Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket
  • “Don’t Ya Pinch Me, Charlie” – Charlie Bucket, Grandpa Joe, Grandparents, Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket
  • “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
Act II [37]

  • “Strike That! Reverse It!” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
  • “Simply Second Nature” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
  • “Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop” – Oompa-Loompas, Willy Wonka
  • “Juicy!” – Oompa-Loompas, Willy Wonka
  • “Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet” – Oompa-Loompas
  • “Vidiots” – Oompa-Loompas, Willy Wonka, Mrs. Teavee
  • “Pure Imagination”† – Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket
  • “A Little Me” – Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, Oompa-Loompas, Mr. Bucket, Mrs. Bucket, Grandparents
  • “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen (reprise)” – Willy Wonka

†Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Music by Anthony Newley for the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. ††Replaced, as of 2016, by “Queen of Pop”.


Act I

  • “The Candy Man”† – Willy Wonka & Ensemble
  • “Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!” – Charlie Bucket & Ensemble
  • “The Candy Man” (reprise) † – Charlie Bucket
  • “Charlie, You & I” – Grandpa Joe
  • “A Letter from Charlie Bucket” – Charlie Bucket, Mrs. Bucket, Grandparents
  • “More of Him to Love” – Mrs. Gloop, Augustus Gloop,
  • “When Veruca Says” – Mr. Salt, Veruca Salt
  • “The Queen of Pop” – Mr. Beauregarde, Violet Beauregarde, Ensemble
  • “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” – Mrs. Teavee, Mike Teavee, Ensemble
  • “If Your Father Were Here” – Mrs. Bucket
  • “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket”† / “Grandpa Joe” – Charlie Bucket, Grandpa Joe, Grandparents, Mrs. Bucket
  • “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
Act II

  • “Strike That! Reverse It!” – Willy Wonka, Ensemble
  • “Pure Imagination”† / “Grandpa Joe (reprise)” – Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, Grandpa Joe and the Golden Ticket Winners
  • “The Oompa Loompa Song”† – Oompa Loompas
  • “Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop” – Willy Wonka & The Oompa Loompas
  • “When Willy Met Oompa” – Willy Wonka & The Oompa-Loompas,
  • “Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet” – Veruca & The Oompa-Loompas
  • “Vidiots” – Willy Wonka, Mike, Mrs. Teavee & The Oompa-Loompas
  • “The View From Here” – Willy Wonka & Charlie
  • “Strike That! Reverse It!” (Charlie’s Reprise) – Charlie & The Company

†Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Music by Anthony Newley for the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Cast Albums

Original London cast recording

A London original cast album was released on 7 October 2013.[38]

No. Title Length
1. “Opening” 0:46
2. “Almost Nearly Perfect” 2:57
3. “The Amazing Fantastical History Of Mr. Willy Wonka” 5:23
4. “A Letter From Charlie Bucket” 3:33
5. “News Of Augustus” 1:03
6. “More Of Him To Love” 2:12
7. “News Of Veruca” 0:36
8. “When Veruca Says” 1:34
9. “News Of Violet” 0:26
10. “The Double Bubble Duchess” 2:48
11. “News Of Mike” 0:09
12. “It’s Teavee Time” 3:27
13. “If Your Mother Was Here” 3:41
14. “Don’cha Pinch Me Charlie” 6:04
15. “It Must Be Believed To Be Seen” 4:35
16. “Strike That, Reverse It” 5:30
17. “The Chocolate Room” 1:32
18. “Simply Second Nature” 3:24
19. “Augustus’ Downfall” 0:38
20. “Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop” 2:34
21. “Gum!” 0:53
22. “Juicy!” 2:20
23. “Veruca’s Nutcracker Sweet” 2:15
24. “Vidiots” 3:02
25. “Pure Imagination” 3:40
26. “A Little Me” 2:40
27. “It Must Be Believed To Be Seen (reprise)” 2:06

Original Broadway cast recording

On April 21, 2017, a cast recording for the Broadway production was announced to be released digitally on June 2 and in stores on June 23 on the Masterworks Broadway label.[40]

Principal Roles and Cast Members

Character Original West End Cast (2013)[41] Original Broadway Cast (2017)
Charlie Bucket Jack Costello, Tom Klenerman, Isaac Rouse, Louis Suc Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust, Ryan Sell
Willy Wonka Douglas Hodge Christian Borle
Grandpa Joe Nigel Planer John Rubinstein
Mr. Salt Clive Carter Ben Crawford
Veruca Salt Polly Allen, Tia Noakes, Ellie Simons Emma Pfaeffle
Mrs. Gloop Jasna Ivir Kathy Fitzgerald
Augustus Gloop Harrison Slater, Jenson Steele, Regan Stokes F. Michael Haynie
Mr. Beauregarde Paul J. Medford Alan H. Green
Violet Beauregarde India Ria Amarteifio, Adrianna Bertola, Jade Johnson, Mya Olaye Trista Dollison
Mrs. Teavee Iris Roberts Jackie Hoffman
Mike Teavee Jay Heyman, Adam Mitchell, Luca Toomey Michael Wartella
Grandma Josephine Roni Page Kristy Cates
Grandma Georgina Myra Sands Madeleine Doherty
Grandpa George Billy Boyle Paul Slade Smith
Mrs Bucket Alex Clatworthy Emily Padgett
Mr Bucket Jack Shalloo does not appear
Mrs. Pratchett Michelle Bishop does not appear
Jerry/Lovebird Man Ross Dawes Jared Bradshaw
Cherry/Lovebird Woman Kate Graham Stephanie Gibson
Oompa-Loompas Ensemble Ensemble

Notable West End Replacements

  • Willy Wonka – Alex Jennings, Jonathan Slinger
  • Grandpa Joe – Barry James
  • Mrs Teavee – Josefina Gabrielle
  • Mr Bucket – Richard Dempsey

Critical Reception

The West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory received mixed to positive reviews from critics.[42] While the physical production and quality of the performances were generally praised, the score and storytelling received criticism.

Awards and Nominations

London Production

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2013 Evening Standard Award Best Night Out Nominated[43] [43]
2014 Awards Best New Musical Nominated[44] [45]
Best Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Nominated[44]
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Nigel Planer Nominated[44]
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Iris Roberts Nominated[44]
Best Set Designer Mark Thompson Won[44]
Best Choreographer Peter Darling Won[44]
Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Nominated [46][47]
Best Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Nigel Planer Nominated
Best Set Design Mark Thompson Nominated
Best Costume Design Won
Best Lighting Design Paul Pyant Won
Best Theatre Choreographer Peter Darling Nominated

Full Broadway Cast

Christian Borle – Willy Wonka
Jake Ryan Flynn – Broadway Debut – Charlie Bucket (Alternate)
Ryan Foust – Broadway Debut Charlie Bucket (Alternate)
Ryan Sell – Broadway Debut Charlie Bucket (Alternate)
Ben Crawford – Mr. Salt
Trista Dollison – Violet Beauregarde
Kathy Fitzgerald – Mrs. Gloop
Alan H. Green – Mr. Beauregarde
F. Michael Haynie – Augustus Gloop
Jackie Hoffman – Mrs. Teavee
Emily Padgett – Mrs. Bucket
Emma Pfaeffle – Veruca Salt
John Rubinstein – Grandpa Joe
Michael Wartella – Mike Teavee
Yesenia Ayala – Broadway Debut Ensemble
Darius Barnes – Ensemble
Colin Bradbury – Ensemble
Jared Bradshaw – Jerry / Ensemble
Ryan Breslin – Ensemble
Kristy Cates – Grandma Josephine / Ensemble
Madeleine Doherty – Grandma Georgina / Ensemble
Paloma Garcia-Lee – Ensemble
Stephanie Gibson  – Cherry / Ensemble
Talya Groves – Ensemble
Cory Lingner – Ensemble
Elliott Mattox – Broadway Debut Ensemble
Monette McKay – Ensemble
Kyle Taylor Parker – Mrs. Green / Ensemble
Paul Slade Smith – Grandpa George / Ensemble
Katie Webber – Ensemble
Swings: Stephen Carrasco, Robin Masella, Kristin Piro, Amy Quanbeck, Michael Williams and Mikey Winslow
Understudies: Yesenia Ayala (Veruca Salt), Darius Barnes (Mr. Beauregarde), Jared Bradshaw (Grandpa Joe, Mr. Salt, Willy Wonka), Ryan Breslin (Mike Teavee), Stephen Carrasco (Mr. Salt), Kristy Cates (Mrs. Gloop, Mrs. Teavee), Madeleine Doherty (Mrs. Gloop, Mrs. Teavee), Paloma Garcia-Lee (Veruca Salt), Stephanie Gibson (Mrs. Bucket), Talya Groves (Violet Beauregarde), Elliott Mattox (Augustus Gloop), Monette McKay (Violet Beauregarde), Kyle Taylor Parker (Mr. Beauregarde), Amy Quanbeck (Mrs. Bucket), Paul Slade Smith (Grandpa Joe, Willy Wonka) and Mikey Winslow (Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee)

Broadway Creative Team

Book by David Greig
Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Based on the novel by Roald Dahl
Songs from the Motion Picture by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
Music orchestrated by Doug Besterman
Music arranged by Marc Shaiman
Additional Orchestrations by Michael Starobin
Musical Director: Nicholas Skilbeck
Directed by Jack O’Brien
Choreographed by Joshua Bergasse
Associate Director: Matt Lenz
Associate Choreographer: Alison Solomon
Scenic Design by Mark Thompson
Costume Design by Mark Thompson
Lighting Design by Japhy Weideman
Sound Design by Andrew Keister
Video and Projection Design: Jeff Sugg
Puppetry Design: Basil Twist
Hair and Wig Design by Campbell Young Associates
Makeup Design by Campbell Young Associates
UK Associate Scenic Designer: Ben Davies
Associate Scenic Design: Nancy Thun
Associate Costume Design: Rory Powers
Associate Lighting Design: Craig Stelzenmuller
Associate Sound Design: Josh Liebert
Associate Projection Design: Simon Harding
Executive Producer: Mark Kaufman, Kevin McCormick and Caro Newling
General Manager: Foresight Theatrical and Mark Shacket; Company Manager
Marc Borsak; Associate Gen. Mgr: Jalaina Ross


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External Links


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Musical

Christian Borle Broadway