Theater lovers can see two Hilliard high school plays this wintry weekend -- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Bradley and Radium Girls at Davidson.

Theater lovers can see two Hilliard high school plays this wintry weekend -- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Bradley and Radium Girls at Davidson.

"We normally take down our sets on Sundays, and we're taking it all out Saturday night so our kids that are in this play can go see Bradley's," said Diana Vance, who chairs of the performing arts department at Davidson. "We have been fostering this year between the three high schools. We're more of a collaborative network, rather than three schools competing against each other. "

Vance said Willy Wonka "is happening in spite of the weather. They have to do this musical when it's scheduled, because of the flying equipment that's rented."

She said a truck traveling cross-country delivered the equipment to Bradley on Feb. 16, a calamity day for the district because of the snow. Vance's son Robert, who is technical director at Bradley, and volunteers helped, even though the school was closed.

"Everybody is putting their heads down and trying to get to the finish line at this point," said Matt Wolfe, Bradley theater director.

Actors and technicians have trained for the flying scenes in Willy Wonka, Wolfe said.

"One is where Augustus Gloop gets sucked up into the chocolate river. There's one where Charlie Bucket and his grandpa drink this potion and they get sucked up to the fan, and then they have to burp to get down. Then at the end, there's the Wonkavator where Willy Wonka's telling Charlie that he's gonna take over the chocolate factory."

Willy Wonka is based on the Roald Dahl book and original film of the same name, and had its off-Broadway premiere at Lincoln Center. It will be two hours long, including intermission.

"This is a musical that will give you a reason to get out of your house," Wolfe said. "It will be something your kids will thoroughly enjoy, as well as you. Just like the movie, it has sophisticated humor and it has very basic physical humor, so everyone will be able to enjoy it.

"It has some of the familiar songs like Pure Imagination, Candy Man, I've Got a Golden Ticket and (spoiled brat) Veruca Salt's song I Want it Now," he said.

The musical has 20 speaking roles and 40 in the chorus.

Wolfe, a Davidson graduate who was taught by Vance, said the weather wreaked havoc with rehearsals.

"At this point of the show, in any show, kids start doubting themselves, and the days missed just give them something else to worry about," he said. "But they're gonna be great. The whole show will be terrific."

Davidson director Scott Tobin calls D.W. Gregory's drama Radium Girls "a very interesting play. I kind of refer to it as Erin Brockovich for teenagers."

Radium Girls is based on the true story of female factory workers in 1920s New Jersey who were exposed to radium, which was used to paint watch dials. The factory, even though it knew of the dangers, encouraged the women to moisten the paintbrushes with their tongues. Some even painted their fingernails with radium because it glowed in the dark.

One woman, Grace Fryer, and others, who were dubbed the "Radium Girls," sued for damages (a precedent at that time) and won.

"It's an interesting play because it's not as grim as it sounds," Tobin said. "It's a very lively play. Grace fights for their rights because the girls around her start dying from the poisoning.

"It's got humor as well," he said. "The girls on the line are gossipy, and there's a love story -- Grace's boyfriend Tom wants to marry her regardless of what her future looks like. It's really not depressing at all. Grace is pretty hopeful throughout the play."

The play is also unique in that it has minimal props that are often doubled for scenes set in the factory, office, home and graveyard. Tobin estimated the play had a cast of 27 actors and 12 technical staff.

Tobin said Radium Girls is appropriate for all audiences. The play lasts two hours, including intermission.

Tobin said they started rehearsing the end of January, but "we missed 6 or 7 rehearsals between last week and this week. After coming back from the snow, it was a huge sigh of relief that the kids really buckled down and did their work.

"I'm like, thank you," he said. "They knew their lines and their blocking (movement and positioning). The snow has definitely been a headache, but they overcame that and did their jobs."