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Wonka offering ‘Pure Imagination’ at HFAC

Published 12:35pm Monday, February 18, 2013

The Hartselle Fine Arts Center will be oozing of chocolate and fun this weekend as College Street Players present “Willy Wonka.”

The production will be Friday at 7 p.m. and three shows on Saturday at noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets for the for Friday and Saturday night performances are $10 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors and free for children under 3 if sitting with adult. For the noon and 2 p.m. shows on Saturday, all tickets are $6.

The play is an adaptation of the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the movies that followed.

Play director Dena Nagel said the play takes a slightly different approach than the book and movies do.

“Willy Wonka is actually the local candy man where Charlie lives with his family,” Nagel said. “So in someways, it almost seems like Willy has hand-picked Charlie to take over the factory. He knows that Charlie is a good boy, not like the other kids who are brats. Even though Charlie lets Willy Wonka down, he eventually does the right thing.”

“Willy Wonka” is one of the larger productions ever put on by College Street Players. It features 86 actors, nearly 40 of which are Oompa Loompas.

Playing the lead roles are Dalton Nagel as Willy Wonka, Sean Thompson as Charlie Bucket, Shane Sieweke as Grandpa Joe, Devin Hale as Grandma Josephine, Richie Nagel as Mr. Bucket, Krista Blaxton as Mrs. Bucket, Hunter Grantland as Grandpa George and Jordan Wade as Grandma Georgina.

Playing the roles of bratty kids and their parents are Emma Bennich as Augustina Gloop, Sonja McKelvy as Mrs. Gloop, Bailee Isbell as Violet Beauregard, Leigh Anne Swindell as Mrs. Beauregard, Mary Elizabeth Adams as Varuca Salt, Jamie Cleveland as Mrs. Salt, Spencer Bell as Mike Teavee and Sarah Bragwell as Mrs. Teavee.

Hailey Beard plays the role of Phoebe Trout, the reporter. Abbie Clemons is also playing the role of Wonka’s assistant, a role that was developed only for this play.

Nagel said this adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is perfect not just for children watching, but also children acting in the play.

“It runs about an hour to an hour an 15 minutes,” Nagel said. “That’s about the maximum attention span for children watching the play, but it’s also perfect for having children actors in the play as well.”

Nagel wished to thank fellow directors Jenny Faulk and Wanda Thompson, who directed the choreography and music respectively. Nagel also extended gratitude to Cindy Davidson for costume design and the parents who helped her.

The set was designed by Bragwell, who also developed the set art work alongside parent volunteers.

Nagel also thanked Tim Wallace, Andy Faulk, Richie Nagel and Steve Sandlin for constructing the set.

“There’s no way we could put this on if it was for all of the volunteer support,” Nagel said.

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