‘Willy Wonka Junior’ comes to SWJH

Michael Johnson plays Willy Wonka.
Michael Johnson plays Willy Wonka.

If you think of the Big Friendly Giant every time a helicopter flies over . . .

If you root for the fox when chickens disappear . . .

If you open a chocolate bar and wonder if you’ve won the Golden Ticket . . .

Well, you may be a Roald Dahl fan.

The author of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Dahl wrote this story and others based on memories of his school days in England.

In his autobiography Dahl told of being unhappy at school — but also of trips he and his friends made to the sweet shop, and of testing new varieties of chocolate bars at the nearby Cadbury’s factory.

“Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Junior” is a musical based on the book. It features songs such as “Pure Imagination,” “Golden Age of Chocolate,” and “Think Positive.”

It will be presented at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 at Southwest Junior High, 943 SW Ninth Ave. Tickets are $5 for secondary students and adults, $3 for elementary students.

Charlie Bucket with his dad and both sets of grandparents.
Charlie Bucket with his dad and both sets of grandparents.

Michael Johnson plays Willy Wonka, and Logan Olson is Charlie Bucket. Hannah Gordy takes on gum-chewing Violet Beauregard, and Abbey Rue is gluttonous Augustus Gloop. Ally Mitchell plays the spoiled Veruca Salt and Lauren Samec the television-watching, video game-loving Mike Teavee.

The role of Charlie’s caring, patient Grandpa Joe is filled by Cody Dusterhoft.

The musical is directed by English teacher Amanda Brett and choir teacher Crystal Biljan.

Singing and dancing in the Willy Wonka production.
Singing and dancing in the Willy Wonka production.

Composer and lyricist Leslie Bricusse and actor/singer/songwriter Anthony Newley, both London-born, wrote the songs.

Bricusse, who has written more than 40 musical shows, is known for his songs “Talk to the animals” from the movie “Dr. Doolittle” and “Can you read my mind?” (with John Williams) from the movie “Superman.”

Newley played the Artful Dodger in David Lean’s 1948 film “Oliver Twist” and starred in the stage version of “Stop the World–I Want to Get Off,” for which he and Bricusse wrote “What kind of fool am I?”

Southwest Junior High students are being exposed to a talented author and musicians in this production. Be sure to bring your young ones along for the show.