Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka
Roald Dahl's timeless story of the world famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to chocolate-covered life.
This title is ONLY available for amateur groups to license and ONLY in North America.
Show Essentials
13
Roles
+ Ensemble
G
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

The play opens somewhere in the bowels of Willy Wonka's fabulous chocolate factory. Wonka, a famous, eccentric, mercurial, whimsical and occasionally sinister candy wizard, welcomes us into his world ("Pure Imagination"). Wonka summons his Oompa-Loompa servants for an important announcement: he is planning to retire and the time has come to choose his successor ("Golden Age of Chocolate").

Wonka, acting as narrator, introduces us to the impoverished Bucket family: Mr. and Mrs. Bucket, their young son, Charlie, and Charlie's four bedridden grandparents. Charlie's Grandpa Joe assures Charlie that Charlie is destined to work for Mr. Wonka, making candy, just as Joe himself did as a young man. Unfortunately, Wonka fired all of his workers years ago (after one of his candy recipes was stolen and sold to a competitor, Slugworth) and locked the gates of his factory forever. Mysteriously, however, Wonka's factory has continued to produce candy. But nobody ever goes in... and nobody ever comes out.

A group of children gathers outside of Charlie's house, each clutching a nickel to buy a Wonka bar from the local Candy Man ("Candy Man"). Charlie is the only child too poor to buy any candy, but the Candy Man treats him to a lollipop and a copy of yesterday's newspaper.

Charlie takes the paper home, and the Buckets learn from it that Wonka has announced a contest: five lucky children will receive a tour of his world famous factory and receive a lifetime supply of Wonka chocolate. Five golden tickets have been hidden among fifty million ordinary candy bars, and the finders of these tickets will win the tour and the chocolate.

The first ticket is found by Augustus Gloop, an obese, gluttonous child from Frankfurt, Germany ("I Eat More!") The second ticket is found in São Paulo, Brazil, by an extremely spoiled girl named Veruca Salt. Her wealthy father, a macadamia nut magnate, had purchased hundreds of thousands of the candy bars and put his entire factory workforce to work, searching for the ticket.

As the mania for Wonka Bars continues all over the world, Mr. Bucket loses his job at a toothpaste factory. Charlie encourages him not to give up hope ("Think Positive").

On Charlie's birthday, his family presents him with a Wonka Bar. Everyone manages to suppress his or her disappointment when Charlie unwraps the bar, but does not find a golden ticket.

The third ticket is found in Snellville, Georgia, by Violet Beauregard, an abrasive girl who is constantly chewing gum. The fourth ticket is found in Television City, California, by Mike Teavee, a boy who seems more interested in television, video games and cell phones than touring Wonka's factory ("I See It All on TV").

That night, before Charlie goes to bed, Grandpa Joe reveals that he has secretly purchased another Wonka Bar for Charlie. They open the bar together, but it contains only chocolate. The Buckets tell Charlie not to be discouraged ("Cheer Up, Charlie").

As winter approaches, the Bucket's situation is becoming increasingly desperate. Charlie is helping the Candy Man pack his wares when he finds a silver dollar on the ground. He assumes that it must belong to the Candy Man and tries to return it, but the Candy Man assures Charlie that it isn't his and tells Charlie to bring it home to his family. He also gives Charlie a Wonka Bar as a reward for his honesty. Charlie buys another Wonka Bar to share with his family. Charlie unwraps the candy and discovers that he has found the last of Wonka's prizes. Charlie chooses Grandpa Joe to accompany him on the factory tour, prompting Joe to leave his bed for the first time in years. ("I've Got a Golden Ticket").

ACT TWO

The five winners and their chaperons are gathered at the gates of Wonka's factory, where he makes a spectacular entrance ("Pure Imagination – Reprise"). Wonka greets each child; apart from Charlie, each one is insufferable in his or her own way. Wonka forces everyone to sign an elaborate and cryptic contract before beginning the tour.

The tour finally begins, and Wonka describes a dizzying array of fabulous chambers and exotic rooms, each devoted to the creation of various sweets and treats ("In This Room Here").

Wonka leads the tour group through a chamber in which the walls and ceiling appear to be closing in around them, and they emerge in the chocolate smelting room, featuring a chocolate river and a network of pipes. Wonka introduces his workers, the Oompa-Loompas. Augustus falls into the chocolate river and is sucked into a large pipe. Wonka, with little apparent concern, directs the Oompa-Loompas to take Mrs. Gloop and retrieve Augustus. The Oompa-Loompas share a moral message about the dangers of gluttony ("Oompa-Loompa One").

Wonka and the remaining guests board a pink candy boat. Veruca Salt demands that her father buy her both the boat and one of the Oompa-Loompas. Salt attempts to buy them from Wonka, but Wonka is unimpressed. The boat ride then turns into a psychedelic nightmare as Wonka navigates them through what appears to be a tour of the darker aspects of human imagination, complete with frightening projected images ("There's No Knowing"). Wonka laughs maniacally as the others scream with horror until the boat abruptly vanishes and the party finds themselves in Wonka's Inventing Room.

In the Inventing Room, Wonka reveals one of his creations: the Everlasting Gummy Gourmet Gobstopper, an entire gourmet meal contained in a piece of gum. Heedless of Wonka's halfhearted warnings that the gum is not yet perfected, Violet is unable to resist it ("Chew It") and is transformed into a blueberry... and apparently explodes. The Oompa-Loompas share a warning about the evils of excessive gum chewing ("Oompa-Loompa Two").

Wonka and the remaining guests proceed to the Fizzy Lifting Drink Room, which is filled with bubbles. Wonka informs everyone that the drink will cause the imbiber to float on air, but forbids anyone to partake. Charlie and Grandpa Joe linger behind after the others leave, and the Oompa-Loompas tempt them to sample the drink. They do so, and immediately rise into the air ("Flying"). Unfortunately, they soon find that they're in danger of being sucked into a giant fan on the roof of the room. However, they discover that burping reverses the effects of the drink, and, via a series of belches, they are able to descend back to the ground ("Burping Song").

Charlie and Grandpa Joe rejoin the others in the Nut Room, where a team of squirrels is busy sorting good nuts from bad nuts. Veruca immediately demands a squirrel and launches into an extended spoiled tantrum ("I Want It Now!"). She is deemed a "Bad Nut" and falls down one of the sorting shoots, pursued immediately by her father. Wonka has lost another candidate. The Oompa-Loompas share a moral about the ills of spoiling children ("Oompa-Loompa Three").

Wonka and the dwindling group proceed to the Choco-Vision Room. Wonka explains that he is currently developing an experimental process for transmitting chocolate via television. He explains how to activate the experimental machinery, but warns everyone not to do so. Naturally, Mike immediately activates the equipment and transports himself via television signal. This results in his being shrunk to a tiny size. Wonka directs that he be taken to the taffy pulling machine and stretched out. The Oompa-Loompas warn of the perils of excessive television viewing ("Oompa-Loompa Four").

With only Charlie and Grandpa Joe remaining, Wonka abruptly announces that the tour is over. He pronounces that the day has been "a total waste of time and chocolate." Before going, Charlie confesses that he and Grandpa Joe tasted the fizzy lifting drink and states that he therefore doesn't deserve the lifetime supply of chocolate he was promised. He apologizes to Wonka and thanks him for the tour. Wonka stops Charlie from leaving and announces that the entire competition was devised with the goal of finding his successor, that Charlie's behavior and performance prove that he should take over the factory. Wonka then launches them into the air in a flying glass elevator ("Flying – Reprise").

Augustus, Violet, Veruca and Mike appear, restored to their former selves, and join the Oompa-Loompas in praising the virtue of honesty ("Oompa-Loompa Five").

Wonka informs Charlie that his entire family is welcome to come and live at the factory. Charlie is delighted to take on his new role as Wonka's handpicked successor ("Finale").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Willy Wonka
The mysterious title character. He is charming, enigmatic, charismatic, and slightly sinister. A chocolatier who guides children and their parents on a tour of his factory. He is looking for someone new to take over his candy empire. Optional Doubling as CANDY MAN and/or PHINEOUS TROUT.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 50
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Candy Man
A local candy vendor. He leads the children in praising the joys of candy. Optional Doubling as WILLY WONKA and/or PHINEOUS TROUT.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 50
Vocal range top: D4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Phineous Trout
A reporter covering the Golden Ticket story. Optional Doubling as WILLY WONKA and/or CANDY MAN.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 50
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: B2
Charlie Bucket
Our story's shy, earnest protagonist. From a modest home life, he is humble and noncompetitive while maintaining a sense of wonder about the world. One of the Golden Ticket winners whose honesty and general good nature win Wonka over.
Gender: male
Age: 9 to 12
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Mrs. Bucket
Charlie Bucket's nurturing mother. She is always trying to maintain an energetic positivity.
Gender: female
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Bb3
Mr. Bucket
Charlie Bucket's nurturing father. He is always trying to maintain an energetic positivity.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: B2
Grandpa Joe
A caring, patient, and kindhearted man. Loving Grandfather to Charlie Bucket. He accompanies Charlie to Willy Wonka's factory and it gives him a new burst of youthful vigor.
Gender: male
Age: 60 to 80
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: Bb2
Augustus Gloop
A gluttonous German boy. Cheerful and jolly, he defines himself by his ability to eat mass quantities of food. One of the Golden Ticket winners whose constant overeating is enabled and encouraged by Mrs. Gloop.
Gender: male
Age: 10 to 15
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: B2
Mrs. Gloop
A plump, jolly german woman with a bustling personality. Augustus Gloop's overindulgent mother.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: B3
Veruca Salt
A wealthy, spoiled Brit. She is accustomed to having her father indulge her every whim and desire. One of the Golden Ticket winners, she is subjected to the squirrels' nut chute.
Gender: female
Age: 10 to 15
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Mr. Salt
A wealthy British upperclassman who regularly flaunts his wealth and privilege. Father to Veruca Salt who shamelessly spoils his daughter.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 60
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: D3
Mike Teavee
An obnoxious, hyperactive child addicted to television, video games, and the internet. One of the Golden Ticket winners and Ms. Teavee's son.
Gender: male
Age: 9 to 12
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Ms. Teavee
An old-fashioned housewife. She is Mike Teavee's permissive and clueless mother.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 50
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Violet Beauregarde
A brassy girl with a competitive streak. Violet seizes every opportunity to show off. She turns into a giant blueberry.
Gender: female
Age: 9 to 12
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Mrs. Beauregarde
Violet's enthusiastic "helicopter parent" who focuses all her attention on her daughter. She indulges Violet's worst competitive impulses.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: D4
Ensemble
Kids; Cooks; Squirrels; Oompa-Loompas
Full Song List
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Pure Imagination
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: The Golden Age of Chocolate
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: The Candyman
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: I Eat More
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Think Positive!
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: I See it All on TV
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Cheer Up Charlie
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Think Positive! Reprise
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: I've Got a Golden Ticket
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: At the Gates
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: In This Room
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Oompa-Loompa 1
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: There's No Knowing
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Chew It
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Oompa-Loompa 2
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Flying
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Burping
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: I Want it Now
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Oompa-Loompa 3
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Oompa-Loompa 4
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: Finale

Show History

Inspiration

Willy Wonka utilizes material from both Roald Dahl's children's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the 1971 movie-musical adaptation, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.  After getting clearance from the Dahl estate to work on the musical, Timothy Allen McDonald went to Leslie Bricusse (Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, Jekyll & Hyde, Victor/Victoria), who had worked on the music for the original film with his deceased partner, Anthony Newley.  Bricusse decided to fill the show with additional new songs that had the "retro-sounding" style of the earlier music.

The stage adaptation of Willy Wonka's story took some liberties with the original material, leaning more towards faithfulness of the film than the book.  Most notably, the character of Willy Wonka serves as the narrator of the story in addition to playing his typical role.  There are also songs written to introduce Augustus Gloop and Mike Teavee, along with two songs dedicated to the sequence of Charlie and Uncle Joe drinking the Fizzy Lifting drink.

Productions

Willy Wonka premiered at the Kennedy Center from November 26, to December 26, 2004, as a part of its "Imagination Celebration" series.  The run was extremely successful and led to a full licensing of the show, in addition to the production of several alternate versions (see "Cultural Influence" section).  Willy Wonka eventually returned to its home at the Kennedy Center for a run from December 23, 2006, to January 7, 2007, followed by a national tour that ran from September 8, 2007, to May 23, 2008.  Other prominent theatres that have performed Willy Wonka include the Seattle Children's Theatre and Chicago's Shakespeare Theatre, the latter of which notably utilized large puppets for many characters, such as the Oompa Loompahs.

Cultural Influence

  • Demand for Willy Wonka prompted the creation of several different stage versions.  Willy Wonka JR. shortens the show to a one-act to be performed by middle school kids, while Willy Wonka KIDS abridges the show even more to a "bite-sized," 30-minute version for even younger performers.  Willy Wonka TYA adapts the rather imaginative show for more amateur productions, also shortening the material to a one-act and doubling several parts for a reduced cast.

Critical Reaction

"Simply Sweet.... Aggressively downscale, doing its best... to make a virtue of make-believe."
– The Washington Post

"A monstrous theatrical challenge.... Deeply connected in tone to the nostalgic memory of that 1971 movie."
– Variety

Connect

Billing

Based on the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
ROALD DAHL'S
WILLY WONKA
(100%)
 
Music and Lyrics by
LESLIE BRICUSSE and ANTHONY NEWLEY
(50%)
 
Adapted for the Stage by LESLIE BRICUSSE and TIMOTHY ALLEN MCDONALD
(50%)
 
Based on the Book "CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" by ROALD DAHL
(50%)
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK30
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 12
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 22

Production Resources

Resource
CUSTOMIZABLE SHOW POSTER
FULL SCORE ACT 1
FULL SCORE ACT 2
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
KEYBOARDTEK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
ORCHEXTRA
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO-DIGITAL SCRIPT/SCORE
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSAL ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
REHEARSCORE APP
SCENIC PROJECTIONS
SCENIC PROJECTIONS PRO
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
STAGE WRITE APPLICATION
SUBPLOT CUSTOMIZED SHOW POSTER
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
CELLO
DRUMS
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
REED 1FLUTE
REED 2OBOE
REED 3Bb CLARINET , BASSOON OR BASS CLAR
TROMBONE
TRUMPET
VIOLIN