Sweet treat: Pied Piper tours Wonka’s ‘Chocolate Factory’

TUPELO – Willy Wonka, the amazing chocolatier, is about to open up his secret candy factory.
The golden tickets have been claimed by Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee.
But Pied Piper Playhouse has room if you want to spend time with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, the play will take the characters and the audience through Wonka’s Invention Room, Nut Sorting Room and Television Room.
“We have a chocolate river,” said Dianne Ludt, director. “It even looks like a chocolate river.”
If you’re not familiar with the story, that’s hard to believe. In addition to the original book and one sequel, two movies have been made, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in 1971 and 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
“I’ve seen both movies and I’ve seen the play before,” said Jessie Kellum, a 14-year-old from Saltillo who plays Willy Wonka. “It’s fun to take it and do it ourselves and see what we can come up with.”

Seeing double
Kellum shares the Wonka role with Chet Barber, and many of the other parts were double cast, as well. There are more than 50 kids in the production.
“That’s been a good thing because of the swine flu and all,” Ludt said. “Even with kids out sick, we’ve been able to run through the rehearsals.”
The stage will overflow with Wonka’s helpers, the Oompa Loompas, who’ll recite Dahl’s original poems about the characters’ pitfalls. And during musical interludes, the Oompa Loompas will dance their way through Milam School auditorium.
“You should really come to the play,” said Harley Nabors, 10, a Houston resident who plays Charlie.
“It’s child-friendly,” Kellum said. “It uses the imagination, and it’s just fun.”
“And crazy and wild,” Nabors added.

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal