So how do you stage an original theatrical mounting of the time-honored Willy Wonka story when older folks still swear by Gene Wilder's film portrayal of the eccentric candy baron and younger audiences still have Johnny Depp's characterization fresh in mind? That challenge falls to Nashville Children's Theatre director Julee Baber, who knocked her last assignment, Go, Dog. Go!, way out of the park. The adaptation is based on Roald Dahl's original book, and NCT attempts to tell the tale through a combination of live action, stage wizardry and puppetry. Fact is, the story is so familiar and so beloved that curiosity alone should drive audiences to check this one out. Far as we know, ol' Charlie Bucket still finds the last golden ticket in a Whipple Scrumptious Nutt-a-riffic Totally Twisted Combo Bar, and that's all we really need to know. The casting looks good: The charming Patrick Waller is Charlie, and Bobby Wyckoff brings his madcap style to Wonka. The supporting players are all locals with reliable track records, but which ones are the Oompa-Loompas?
Mondays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 18. Continues through Jan. 20, 2008