Pure Imagination

We were invited to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opening night at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City last night –what a treat we were in store for!

We settled in for what was to be a fun-filled and sweet show. I was asked before seeing the show if you could really stretch the book and movies into a Broadway production. Let me assure you, it can be done and done really well at that!

For those unfamiliar with the story, Charlie Bucket is a young pauper without a penny to spare.  He dreams all of the time, imagining inventions and scenarios without limited. One of his dreams being that of visiting the mysterious Wonka factory in town that no one has been in for quite some time.  An opportunity arises where 5 lucky winners of a Golden Ticket found in Wonka chocolate bars will win the opportunity to visit the Wonka factory and win a grand prize.  We are introduced to the winners of the contest and their personalities throughout the first half and then during the second, we watch the tour of the factory and the rest of the story unfold.  It is fantastic!

The cast of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, photo by Jeremy Daniel

Immediately, I was impressed by Charlie, a young, energetic and optimistic soul that colors the story.  Kai Edgar, William Goldsman, and Coleman Simmons alternate in the title role of Charlie  Bucket in this production. Willy Wonka, played by Cody Garcia, was eccentric and humorous, but his version was very much his own character–not trying to imitate Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp from their movie personas.  He did a great job creating his own personality. I love the commentary made through the introductions of new characters and scenes. Each character does a great portrayal and teaches us some very valuable life lessons.

The cast includes  Steve McCoy as Grandpa Joe, Claire Leyden as Mrs. Bucket, Audrey Belle Adams as Mrs. Gloop, Zakiya Baptiste as Violet Beauregarde, Scott Fuss as Mr. Salt, JACNIER  as Mike Teavee, Nic Mains as Augustus Gloop, Branden R. Mangan as Mr. Beauregarde, Meagan Michelson as Mrs. Teavee, and Angela Palladini as Veruca Salt.  

The hit Broadway musical features songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters from Hairspray. 

The sets, music and actors were all very imaginative and set the perfect background for an amazing Broadway experience. I personally loved the scenes with the Oompa Loompas and know you will, too. The creative way they perform on stage makes for great theater!  This is definitely one not to miss.  A great choice for a family outing, it’s extremely kid-friendly, but entertaining enough for adults, as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and highly recommend it to you.

To learn more about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, visit CharlieOnTour. You can purchase your own tickets at Broadway-at-the-Eccles.comArtTix.org, by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787) and in-person at the Eccles Theater box office, M-F 10am-6pm; Sat. 10am-2pm and Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, M-F 10am-2pm. Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is in Salt Lake City’s Eccles Theater from June 14 – 19, 2022.

Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY features direction by Matt Lenz, based on the national tour’s original direction by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien. Original music by Grammy®, Emmy® and Tony Award® winner Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Grammy® and Tony Award® winnersScott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre David Greig, based on original choreography by Tony Award® nominee and Emmy Award® winner Joshua Bergasse and includes additional songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the 1971 Warner Bros. motion picture. 

Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY features original scenic and costume design by five-time Tony Award®-nominee Mark Thompson, which has been recreated by Christine Peters; lighting design by four-time Tony Award®-nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Andrew Keister, projection design by Jeff Sugg, puppet and illusion design by Obie and Drama Desk Award-winner Basil Twist, hair & wig design by Campbell Young Associates / Luc Verschueren, and orchestrations by three-time Tony Award®-winner Doug Besterman

Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is produced by NETworks Presentations.  

NETWORKS PRESENTATIONS (Producer) is an industry-leading producer of touring theatrical productions, committed to delivering quality entertainment to audiences worldwide for more than 25 years. Current and upcoming productions include 1776, Anastasia, The Band’s Visit, Blue Man Group, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray, Les Misérables, The Prom, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Waitress. www.networkstours.com 


Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a spy, ace fighter-pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more brilliant stories. He remains the World’s No.1 storyteller. 

Sitting in a hut at the bottom of his garden, surrounded by odd bits and pieces such as a suitcase (used as a footrest), his own hipbone (which he’d had replaced) and a heavy ball of metal foil (made from years’ worth of chocolate wrappers), he went on to write some of the world’s best-loved children’s stories. His first children’s story, James and the Giant Peach, was published in 1961, was a hit and every subsequent book became a best-seller. 

Today, his stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, he has sold more than 250 million books. Many of these stories have also been adapted for stage and screen, including the 1971 film classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wes Anderson’s acclaimed Fantastic Mr Fox, the multi-award winning Matilda The Musical from the RSC with music by Tim Minchin, and Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster The BFG. The latest adaptation is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical which opened on Broadway in April 2017 following three Golden years on London’s West End. 

Broadway Across America (BAA) is part of the John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com and Group Sales Box Office.  Led by 15-time Tony-winning theater producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America,operating in 48 markets with over 400,000 subscribers. Presentations include Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera and Hamilton. Current and past productions include Ain’t Too Proud, Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge! and To Kill A Mockingbird. 

The John Gore Organization is the leading presenter, producer, distributor, and marketer of Broadway theatre worldwide. Under the leadership of 15-time Tony-winning theatre producer and owner John Gore, its family of companies includes Broadway Across America, Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com, and Group Sales Box Office. The company presents shows in 48 cities across North America as well as on Broadway, Off-Broadway, London’s West End, Japan, and China. It has won Tony Awards in every producing category as well as numerous other Drama League, Drama Desk and Olivier Awards.  The John Gore Organization is committed to supporting theater access and education programs that introduce Broadway to the next generation of audiences and theater professionals.

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