Central Coast’s Kelrik Productions will turn timeless classic Willy Wonka into a musical at Cal Poly’s Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre this summer. “Willy Wonka: The Musical” will run July 9 through July 16.
Founded by brother and sister Erik and Kelley Austin in Portage, Ind., Kelrik Productions has been creating stage magic on the Central Coast since 1988. Becoming a community theater program in 2004 and a non-profit in 2008, Kelrik Productions stands as a supportive and contributing member to the San Luis Obispo community.
Erik Austin, the artistic director of Kelrik Productions, stars as the magical and mysterious Willy Wonka. As the show’s acting director, Austin will be assisting director and choreographer Tabatha S. Skanes to put this show into motion.
“It’s been fun; it’s a lot of new people, new talents, new children,” Austin said about working with the cast. “It’s a matter of finding what works for everyone.”
Leslie Bricusse originally composed the music for the movie musical Willy Wonka’s Candy Company, adapted from the beloved children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” written by Roald Dahl. Some of Bricusse’s original songs are mixed in with memorable favorites such as “Pure Imagination.”
“Musicals are a little more campy, fun and cheesier than a play,” Austin said. “But it’s Willy Wonka so it’s crazy already, a little more over the top.”
With around 30 acting cast members ranging from ages six to 65, this unique production can be enjoyed by theater-lovers young and old.
First-time Kelrik actor Phineas Peters steals the spotlight with his lead role as Charlie Bucket. Playing Mrs. Bucket and Uncle Joe, Charlie’s biggest supporters and companions on his adventure, are actors Rachel Tiez and Todd Long, respectively.
Also invited to the chocolate factory on this fateful day are the four other infamous children who found golden tickets in their greedy hands.
Eliot Peters plays the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, followed by the technologically tainted Mike Teavee, shared by Sam Gomez and Drew Vander Weele. Mrs. Gloop and Ms. Teavee accompany their children through this odd ordeal, played by actresses Carey Blauvelt and Anita Henry, respectively. Rounding up the four are the spoiled Veruca Salt, portrayed by Sophie Long, and the orally-fixated Violet Beauregard, played by Brooke Andris.
The majority of the cast make up the Oompa-Loompas and schoolchildren, played by Julia Bloom, Cierra Bloom, Ashlyn Cleaves, Ayla Gharavi, Sam Gomez, Isabella Grznar, Izzy Mayr, Claire Perales-Duckworth, London Raffery, Hallei Roberts,Carter Simonich, Addisyn Tejada, Joel Wadlo, Steaphanee Wittlieb, Bennet Wittlieb and Liam Wittlieb.
The role of Candy Man is filled by Sean McCallon, leading the kids on their candy adventure.
“(The show) involves so many different people,” Austin said. “We wanted to incorporate kids and adults alike that all mesh together to be one show.”
With two weekends of shows, there is no reason not to visit Cal Poly’s campus to see this fresh installment of a childhood favorite, whether your childhood was the ’70s or 2000s.
“I think its a great chance for people to expose their children to theater,” Austin said. “It’s 75 minutes, so it’s pretty quick and it’s a different take on a story we all know, no matter what version you like.”
To purchase tickets, visit www.kelrikproductions.org or call 805-756-4TIX. Prices range from $20-40, depending on reserved seating. Reservations are recommended.
Discounts are offered for full-time students, groups of 15 or more and seniors.