The hit musical based on the Roald Dahl children's book of the same title was previously announced for a Broadway transfer after Mendes finished his chores directing the Hollywood blockbuster, "Spectre." That film is now opened, but Mendes's schedule remains so full that he is going to hand over the director's chair to someone else, possibly Hairspray director Jack O’Brien, though he was not confirmed by the production. Variety first reported the news.
Hairspray remains Shaiman and Wittman's biggest stage hit. Mendes reportedly will continue as co-producer of the project through his company Neal Street Productions.
"Scheduling difficulties" were given as the reason for the change. "I knew I couldn’t marry the time commitment to make a Broadway production with the development of my next projects for Neal Street," he said in a press statement.
Though no theatre, cast or specific dates have been announced for the Broadway production, Variety reported that the show "remains on track" for Broadway's 2016-17 season, which starts next June. The world-premiere musical began London performances May 22, 2013, at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It officially opened June 25 of that year.
Directed by Tony, Olivier and Academy Award winner Mendes (Cabaret, "American Beauty"), it has a book by David Greig (Damascus, Outlying Islands), with music and lyrics by Shaiman and lyrics by Wittman – the Tony Award-winning songwriters of Hairspray and "Smash." It has choreography by Tony and Olivier winner Peter Darling (Matilda, Billy Elliot).
Tony and Olivier winner Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles, Cyrano de Bergerac) originated the role of Willy Wonka in the stage production. Jonathan Slinger currenrtly stars in the role.
According to the creators, "When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it's the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he's always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors and amongst the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems... A chocolate garden, an army of squirrels and the curiously peculiar Oompa-Loompas must be believed to be seen in this spectacular new musical that is choc-full of fantastical treats to dazzle your senses."
The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Paul Arditti. Video and projections are by Jon Driscoll, with puppet and illusions by Jamie Harrison. The musical director is Nicholas Skilbeck.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is produced in London by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Kevin McCormick.