South County CYT’s ‘Willy Wonka’ is family-friendly theater viewing

Phillip Brents

Fri October 25, 2013 12:47pm

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 in the wrappers of his famous Wonka bars. Those who find the 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 Shileds 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 production features nearly a dozen musical numbers, including all the hit tunes from the 1971 film.
The “golden ticket” excitement comes alive off-stage 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. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. All seats are reserved. Prices are $15 ($18 at the door).