AP NEWS

Charlie grabs the golden ticket in Greensburg Civic Theatre

March 31, 2018 GMT

Young Charlie Bucket’s reality of winning a ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is every kid’s — and admittedly some adults’ — dream.

Tina Lepidi-Stewart of North Huntingdon, who directs Greensburg Civic Theatre’s production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” March 16-17 at Greensburg Garden & Civic Center, says she’s always been intrigued by the 1964 children’s story by British author Roald Dahl, which has been made into two films.

The first, a 1971 musical titled “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starred Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, and another movie in 2005 was directed by Tim Burton and starred Johnny Depp in the leading role.

“As a child, I grew up with the Gene Wilder version and was always mesmerized by all the effects in the movie,” Lepidi-Stewart says, “so when the opportunity to direct this play arose, I jumped at it. I want to retell this story as honestly and true to the original as possible.”

The director is working to compensate for the inability of a live stage production to mimic the illusions that can be created onscreen by film editors.

“In the play we have to incorporate the effects while making it look believable,” she says. “I think we have them mostly worked out. The Veruca scene will be the most challenging because in this script all three family members fall down the chute.”

Veruca Salt, the not-nice girl in the story, is portrayed by Brooke Lickenfelt, an 11th-grade student at Hempfield Area High School. She says that playing the nasty girl who always gets what she wants has been a dream role for as long as she can remember.

“Veruca is a snotty, bratty, rude girl who always gets what she wants, and if she doesn’t, she shows her evil side — even though she is always evil,” Lickenfelt says.

Isaac McCloy, a seventh-grader at Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School, plays Charlie Bucket. He says that having the opportunity to portray his character is a blessing.

Conor McQueen is the narrator in the Greensburg Civic Theatre production. Others in the cast include: Jace Baldassare, Ciara Giron, Dakota Morrison, Jane Staranko, Tobi Sasso, Sage Blair, Willie White, Michael Dunlap, Katie Dunlap, Roger Rhodes and Rose Morrigan.

Jared Miller, Emma Balega, Maddie Simkovic, Mandi Morrison, Layla Klosky, Sarah Balega, Emma Sabo and Sarah McQueen are the dancing Oompa Loompas.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.