Monday, August 3, 2009

Willy Wonka Jr.

We live on the border of two school districts, which has advantages. One of those advantages is the existence of two community education programs within easy driving distance. In fact, many of the activities for the district we do not live in are closer than those for the district we DO live in.
PhotobucketThis summer, BOTH community education programs selected the same play to perform: Willy Wonka Jr. And worse, the two productions were the same week. I thought about seeing both, but in the end, we wound up only getting to one--the one in the district I do not live in.

It was quite well done. The actors were all between the ages of 5 and 15 and there were only a few mistakes. We saw it fairly close to the first performance, so some of the mistakes I chalked up to nerves. And none of them detracted from the overall performance. My kids loved it. They always enjoy going to theater performances, and I think they are excellent theater patrons: They sit quietly, don't kick the seat in front of them, applaud when appropriate, and are respectful of others around them. A performance like this is wonderful for teaching them these behaviors. I never had to ask them to please be quiet, nor did anyone else. I will not say the same for the handful of young boys behind me who seemed to think there was no one else in the theater! They finally settled down after a few pointed shushings.

The production in general was very good. The young man who played Willy Wonka did an excellent job. He sang beautifully and delivered some lines very well. The boy who played Charlie, though, was I thought the best performer in the show. There was just something about his portrayal of Charlie that made it utterly believable. Grandpa Joe was very well done, too.

The Oompa Loompas were the youngest members of the cast and did a very good job. They had a great deal of choreography to remember, and I found myself wondering if Kiddo would have been able to remember all the words to the songs and what he was supposed to be doing.

We have seen the movies, so the story wasn't new to us. I think the play was a bit easier to get the lessons out of, however. There just wasn't so much business going on, so the words, especially in the songs, were more prominent. I picked up the Roald Dahl book from my library (well, not my library, the neighboring library), so we will do it for read aloud as soon as we complete Alice in Wonderland.

They are putting on Winnie-the Pooh this fall, and I can't wait! For less than $20, it is a great outing for the kids.

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