The Newtown, Connecticut-based NewArts will present limited engagements of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as part of its summer 2017 season. The not-for-profit theatrical production organization was founded by local parent Michael Baroody, MD in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy of December 14, 2012.
NewArts, with a mission of fostering healing and strength through the performing arts and character development, features 130 Newtown-area children onstage, backstage, and in the orchestra, as well as two Broadway performers: Jim Stanek and Janet Metz.
Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and adapted for the stage by Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald, features Broadway’s Stanek (Fun Home, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) as Willy Wonka. The show’s 80 local youth cast members include double-cast principals (Oompa and Loompa casts) who alternate performances.
Michael Unger and Jennifer Paulson Lee co-direct, with choreography by Lee, music direction by J. Paul Bourque, costume design by Krissy Sneshkoff, and lighting design by Mitchell Girgasky. Remaining show times are July 28 at 7 PM, July 29 at 2 PM and 7 PM, and July 30 at 2 PM.
Metz (Falsettoland, Once Upon a Mattress) will play the Narrator in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which will be presented August 11 at 7 PM, August 12 at 2 PM and 7 PM, and August 13 at 2 PM. She will be joined by 75 local children.
Michael Unger directs, with choreography by Tara Jeanne Vallee, music direction by Jeffrey Saver, costume coordination by Stevie Rival, and lighting design by G. Benjamin Swope.
For both shows, scenic design is by Brian Prather, production management is by G. Ben Swope, technical direction is by Jon Curns, sound design is by Brian Kelly, and props are by Mary Paul. Kathy Hoefgen and Jomary Pena are production stage managers, and NewArts founder Baroody is executive producer.
All performances take place at The Theater at Walnut Hill Community Church, 156 Walnut Hill Rd., Bethel. Tickets, priced $17.50-$27.50, and information about supporting NewArts are available at NewArts.org.