Willy Wonka Coming To The Smith

“Willy Wonka,” the beloved children’s tale adapted from Roald Dahl’s classic book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” comes to the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca Street, at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on April 24 in a vibrant stage adaptation by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Imagination Celebration® on Tour program. This is the final show in The Smith’s 2006/07 ArtSmart Theatre for Young People Series. Complete with Oompa Loompas, Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, Charlie Bucket, and the other characters well known from both the book and the two film versions of the story, “Willy Wonka” is a scrumptious musical treat for all ages featuring live actors, puppets, memorable songs, and plenty of surprises.For generations, the story of Charlie Bucket’s magical journey to Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory has been part of American childhoods, beginning with Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 1964, then through the 1971 film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” which starred Gene Wilder in the title role and introduced unforgettable songs such as “The Candy Man,” “Pure Imagination,” and “I Want It Now!” The story’s enduring popularity prompted a second film version, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” in 2005, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The current stage version, with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, is adapted for the stage by Bricusse and Tim McDonald.Willy Wonka, the world’s greatest candy maker, has kept the wonders of his chocolate factory a secret — until now! After a lifetime of making unbelievable candies and sweets, Wonka is finally ready to retire, but only after he finds the perfect person to take his place. Following a frantic search for the golden tickets hidden within five special Wonka bars, a sweet-natured boy named Charlie Bucket and four other Golden Ticket winners get the tour of a lifetime in the mysterious candy-maker’s fantastical factory. Willy Wonka and his industrious band of Oompa Loompas lead Charlie, the spoiled-rotten Veruca Salt, gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, and television junkie Mike Teavee through a labyrinth of lemon drops, life lessons, and laughs.Imagination Celebration® on Tour is the traveling arm of the high-quality family performance programs produced by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. It began in 1992 at the request of two presenters wishing to bring high quality family performances to their communities. From this request sprang the first national tour of “The Red Badge of Courage,” directed by Richard Thomas, which visited six states and entertained over 14,000 people. Today, over 1 million young people and their families across the nation have been reached through its programs. Imagination Celebration® on Tour allows students, teachers, families, and the general public who may not have the chance to visit the national center for the performing arts to experience these productions.To help connect these touring productions with local classrooms, Kennedy Center also develops a comprehensive packet to educate teachers on how to incorporate skills and techniques that are inherent to theatrical productions into their everyday classroom. The education packets are available by contacting The Smith.The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a presidential memorial mandated by Congress to present and produce the finest performing arts from this country and abroad. Since its opening in 1971, performances of every imaginable kind have enlivened its halls and millions of people’s lives. As the national center for the performing arts, the Kennedy Center is committed to increased opportunities for all people to participate in and understand the arts. To fulfill that mission the Kennedy Center strives to commission, produce, and present performances reflecting the highest standards of excellence and diversity indicative of the world in which we live and to make those performances accessible to the broadest possible audience through arts education. Each year, more than 11 million people are directly impacted by the Education Department of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.All seats for “Willy Wonka” are $4.50 and may be reserved by contacting the Smith Opera House at 315-781-LIVE or toll free at 866-355-LIVE. Tickets may also be ordered online at www.TheSmith.org.The production lasts one hour. Home schoolers and public and parochial school students are invited to attend this unique and exciting theatrical event. It is is recommended for ages five and up.The 10 a.m. performance is sold out but there are still plenty of great seats for the 3:30 matinee.The Smith Opera House is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Funding for this production and the entire ArtSmart series was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, the Lyons National Bank, and the Delavan Foundation.

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