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South County CYT’s ‘Willy Wonka’ is family-friendly theater viewing Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 01 2013 12:59 PM

South County Christian Youth Theater, an after-school theater arts training program, will present its opening production of the 2013-14 season, Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka,” Nov. 8-10 and 15-17 at the Mater Dei Catholic High School performing arts theater.

More than 60 area youths, ages 8 to 18, will participate as actors, singers, dancers and technical crew in the season opening production, which is directed by Cody Combs with musical direction by Janie d’Avignon and choreography by Joy Allen. Assistant directors include Daniel Collins and Lauren Gray.

“Full community and family participation is essential for making a show like ‘Willy Wonka’ so magical,” CYT San Diego artistic director Janie Russell Cox noted. “Involvement is encouraged with each aspect of the production. Not all students are aspiring actors but they can also learn sound engineering, lighting design, stage crew responsibilities, and stage management. The parent production team incorporates family unity by supporting each member of the production onstage and offstage … It truly is theater done by kids for kids!”

Dahl’s 1964 children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the subsequent 1971 feature film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder in one of his most famous roles, are the inspiration for the local theater production. It tells the story of eccentric candy maker Willy Wonka who has hidden five golden tickets beneath the wrappers of his famous Wonka bars. The people who find these lucky tickets will get a once in a lifetime tour of the most mysterious and amazing candy factory in the world.

Wonka and his staff of Oompa Loompas lead ticket winners Charlie Bucket, the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, television junkie Mike Teevee and spoiled-rotten Veruca Salt through a maze of chocolate rivers, life lessons, and laughs in this scrumptious musical treat for the entire family.

Some actors in the South County CYT production play more than one lead character and several actors play multiple minor characters.

The lead talent features Loren Fernandez as the narrator and Phinneous Trout/news anchor, Leif Corbeil as Willy Wonka and The Candy Man, Liam Galleher as Charlie Bucket, Evan Adam as Augustus Gloop, Mikaela Villalpando as Veruca Salt, Justin Stella as Mike Teevee, Sofia Gurrola as Violet Bauregarde and Dale Jones as Grandpa Joe.

Supporting talent includes Emma Baldwin as Mrs. Bucket, T.J. Kendrick as Mr. Bucket, Caroline Shields as Grandma Josephina, Sahe-Lin Carr as Grandma Georgina, Nicolas Payton as Grandpa George, Jacob Eddington as James, Ella Felberg as Matilda, Emilie Powers as Mrs. Gloop, Corwin Batchman as Mr. Salt, Nicole Bild as Mrs. Teevee  and Olivia Blore as Mrs. Baugregarde.

The Ooompa Loompas include Alexis Tappen, Alyssa Gonzalez, Ava Tucker, Ethan Cruz, Gabriela Marin, Haley Martinez, Hannah Shields, Isabella Galasso, Juan Pablo Alvarez, Maggie Clark, Malcolm Lange, Mariana Perez, Mikaela Gonzalez, Natalia Escamilla-Huidor, Sarah Mulhern and Savannah List.

The Candy Kids include Caitlyn Geisen, Ella Felberg, Emily Bautista, Jacob Eddington, Madi Kelly, Sophia Cespedes, Taitum Eddington and Taylor Reid.

The Candy Dancers include Alexis Tappen, Haley Felberg, Hannah Shields, Mariana Perez, Meilani Reyes-Curry, Natalia Robinson and Sarah Mulhern.  

Cooks include Corwin Batchman, Dale Jones, Jacob Eddington, Nicolas Payton and TJ Kendrick.

City Folks include Alexis Cruz, Alexis Tappen, Ava Tucker, Bianca Ridgels, Broy McClure, Cadence Gossler, Caitlyn Geisen, Defne Karabacak, Elena Sanchez, Ella Felberg, Emily Bautista, Ethan Murray, Finn McClure, Gabriela Perez, Haley Felberg, Isabel Foust, Isabella Martin, Jackson Lawrence, Jacob Eddington, Karla Ochoa, Madi Kelly, Malia Smith, Meilani Reyes-Curry, Natalia Robinson, Sofia Velasco, Sophia Cespedes, Taitum Eddington, Taylor Reid and Tracee Logan. 

The production features nearly a dozen major musical numbers, including all the hit tunes from the 1971 film. Songs include “Pure Imagination,” “Golden Age of Chocolate,” “The Candy Man,” “Cheer Up Charlie,” “Think Positive,” “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” “I See It All on TV,” “In This Room Here,” “There’s No Knowing,” “Oompa Loompa Songs” and  “I Want It Now.”

The golden ticket excitement comes alive offstage as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory will award five lucky children the opportunity to win a tour of Chula Vista’s own chocolate factory. Special Wonka Bars will contain a golden ticket earning buyers an opportunity for their own chocolate adventure.

Proceeds from the sale of the chocolate bars will benefit new wireless microphones for South County CYT productions.

The special promotion will run throughout the show and winners will be announced at the close of the show on Nov. 17.
Mater Dei Catholic High School is located at 1615 Mater Dei Drive, Chula Vista. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

All seats are reserved. Ticket prices are $15 ($18 at the door). For ticket information, visit the website at www.cytsandiego.org.

Theater Sunday offers free live performances at CV Library

The Chula Vista Public Library and Christian Youth Theater San Diego have teamed up to offer a fun and free theater experience for residents of all ages on Sunday, Nov. 3, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Chula Vista Civic Library branch (365 F Street).

Selected scenes from CYT’s productions of “Willy Wonka” and “School House Rock Live!” will be featured.

Presented by South County’s CYT, “Willy Wonka” is based on the Gene Wilder 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Classic songs like “Pure Imagination” and favorite characters like honest Charlie Bucket, overindulged Veruca Salt and, of course, Oompa Loompas, give a whole new generation the chance to get to know the timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir.

Presented by East County’s CYT, “School House Rock Live!” is the Emmy Award winning 1970s cartoon series that taught TV viewers history, grammar, math, science and politics through clever, tuneful songs.

Rediscover favorite tunes like “Conjunction Junction” and “Just a Bill” and sing along to this energetic musical that includes some lovable characters that all just happens to be educational.

Theater Sunday at Chula Vista public libraries are part of Chula Vista’s Performing and Visual Arts Fund Grant 2013 awarded to CYT San Diego that helps promote theater arts as a vital part of the city of Chula Vista’s cultural landscape.

Performances featuring other classic theater productions like “Shrek” and “Disney’s Little Mermaid” will be offered at Chula Vista’s south branch and Otay Ranch Branch in 2014.

“It’s a great partnership to introduce live theater to families who may otherwise not have an opportunity,” South County’s CYT parent organizer Patty Chavez said. “We also hope it encourages more Chula Vista residents to attend their local professional theaters and support Chula Vista art programs.”

Discount tickets and a chance to win free tickets to the full productions of “Willy Wonka” and “School House Rock Live!” will be offered at the library performance.

“Willy Wonka” will run in Chula Vista from Nov. 8 to 10 and 15 to 17 at the Mater Dei High School Theater (1615 Mater Dei Drive).

“School House Rock Live!” will run in El Cajon from Nov. 15 to 17 and 22 to 24 at Greenfield Middle School (1495 Greenfield Drive).

For tickets and times visit the website at www.cytsandiego.org.

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