Get your chocolate fix!

Matt Echelberry

April 7, 2014

You know the story. A group of children get the tour of a lifetime inside the mysterious chocolate factory owned by an eccentric recluse. A surreal, sugar-coated adventure ensues.

“Willy Wonka” opens this weekend at Galion Community Theatre. Galion High School Theater is putting on the show, an entirely student-produced work that has all the fun and magic associated with the name.

The musical combines elements of the 1964 children’s book by Roald Dahl, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and the 1971 film version, titled “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder. (The 2005 remake starring Johnny Depp was mostly ignored for source material.)

Audience members who remember songs from the classic film, like “The Candy Man,” “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket” and “Pure Imagination,” are in for a treat. The musical also adds several original numbers to the mix.

Also included in the production are all of those riddle-filled sing-a-longs with Wonka’s factory workers from Loompa Land, as well as that creepy boat ride down the chocolate river.

The play keeps themes like poverty and gluttony, while adding some new ones for the modern age, namely an obsession with television and technology.

GHS Theater Advisor Cheri Laughbaum explained the play requires several different sets. In their version, they decided not to build any walls, which requires the audience to use their imaginations as they follow the characters through the various rooms of the factory.

“Willy Wonka” is a tasty ride through satire and the absurd that all ages can enjoy.

The show opens Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. and continues Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. There will by a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 13. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased in advance by calling Amy at 419-563-5805. Friday’s show is almost sold out.