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CWHS to stage 'classic' tale of 'Willy Wonka'

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Canal Winchester residents don't need a "golden ticket" to watch Canal Winchester High School students perform Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory April 27 and 28 at the Oley Speaks Auditorium.

The musical, presented at the Canal Winchester Education Center, 100 Washington St., is based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Two movies, one starring Gene Wilder and the other Johnny Depp, memorialized the book on the big screen.

"We are basing the main character more off of Gene Wilder's character and we've rewritten a lot of scenes ourselves," said Kelsey Roberts, CWHS English teacher and theater director.

While this is Roberts' third year of teaching, it is her first at Canal Winchester and her first time as a director, though she has acted in many shows.

She said more than 40 students are involved in the production, which features complicated sets and movable pieces. A number of changes had to be made to accommodate the story, she said.

"It's such a classic story and it's got a lot of moral lessons in it, especially with the kids and learning not to be greedy and actually living your life and not through a screen. It's a great show," Roberts said. "I couldn't be any luckier with a group of kids that I've got because they're really passionate about this and really dedicated themselves to this show."

Senior Mac Blais, who plays Willy Wonka, agreed the musical has a "fantastic message" that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Blais helped rewrite parts of the script to make the story work within some limitations of the sets as well as the need to update the lines to make the show more "modern."

"I've watched the Gene Wilder movie since I was kid and I've always loved the feel of the movie," Blais said. "It's only fitting that the last musical that I'm going to do is something that I've loved so much and a part that I could connect with so well."

Tickets for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will be available at the door at $5 for seniors and students, $7 for adults, and $10 for reserved orchestra seating.

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