Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions announced March 17 that Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will begin performances on Broadway in spring 2017 at a theatre to be announced.
The Olivier and Evening Standard Award-winning London production, directed by Sam Mendes and choreographed by Peter Darling, opened in June 2013 at the Theatre Royale Drury Lane, where it has been seen by more than 1.8 million people. It is scheduled to close there January 7, 2017.
The Broadway production will be directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse.
Design team, casting, theatre and dates will be announced at a later time.
In the new musical, press notes state, “Broadway audiences are invited to experience Willy Wonka’s delightful and semi-dark chocolate world first-hand. Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates...to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life- changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka's army of curious Oompa-Loompas.”
O’Brien said in a statement, “Why does Wonka want to do this Golden Ticket contest and what compels him to want to give it all away? I started with the question why. This is the dramatic premise I hang the whole show on. Sam and I have both spent our careers putting our personal spin on classics, be it by William Shakespeare or Roald Dahl. Since the first production was created for London it’s only fair we do an American version, and in America, our connection is to the 1971 movie and the indelible impression of Gene Wilder as the slyly wicked Wonka.”
He added, “The score will pay homage to the beloved Leslie Bricusse/ Anthony Newley songs that are integral to the American relationship to the story, combined with all new songs crafted by the American team that created one of Broadway’s most beloved scores, Hairspray. There is room for both of these talented voices in one classic to tell our version of the story, as long as the story stays eternal and true.”
Original director Mendes said, “I loved directing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I'm really proud it's having such great run at Drury Lane. But I knew I couldn't marry the time commitment to make a Broadway production with the development of my next projects. As such I am thrilled to be turning the keys to the Broadway Chocolate Factory over to the brilliant Jack O’Brien.”
The spring 2017 launch of the Broadway production conflicts with original choreographer Darling’s upcoming projects, and he has passed the choreography duties for this new production to Bergasse.
Roald Dahl's acclaimed novel was the basis for the award-winning 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which starred Gene Wilder. Johnny Depp starred in the remake.
The Broadway production will be produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Mark Kaufman), Langley Park Productions (Kevin McCormick) and Neal Street Productions (Sam Mendes, Caro Newling).
For more information visit CharlieOnBroadway.com.