Seniors at Elkin High School have been working for months for their star performance, they’re final chance to take the stage as students in a theater production, and next week it will all take place as they present “Willy Wonka Junior.”
“We’ve put in a lot of work, and there’s still a lot of work to be done in the next week, but if everyone buckles down, we’ll be ready,” said Avery Atwood Friday during dress rehearsals. Atwood is playing the role of Willy Wonka, the candy creator in the play, which is based on Roald Dahl’s book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Atwood played a role in last year’s senior play as well, but he said this year is very different “having to sing and dance around.”
For the student actor, “Golden Age of Chocolate” is his favorite song. “Everybody is on stage happy about chocolate and talking about Willy Wonka,” he said of the musical scene near the beginning of the first act.
He said the show will be good for everyone, with adult humor and kid humor. He also said he thinks everyone will like the Oompa-Loompa Song and when Violet Beauregarde turns into a blueberry.
“We are doing a good job incorporating the props and scenery,” Atwood said.
Another of his favorite scenes is when Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river.
“It is very family oriented. I think the community as a whole will like it,” he said.
MacKenzie Tilley and Reagan Parks, two of the 12 Oompa-Loompas in the production, said they are enjoying their parts because they are on stage a lot and they get to do a lot of dances.
“I just thought it would be fun,” Tilley said. “It is a chance to get closer as a senior class.”
“And you get to hang out with your friends,” added Parks.
The play will last about an hour and a half, with about 55 seniors involved either as part of the cast, crew, lighting or sound, said Sarah Estrada, who with Tonya Smith directs the play.
“We held auditions in mid-January,” she said. But it takes a while to prepare for production, because it is open to all seniors and everyone who wants to is involved in some way. Estrada said there is more time involved teaching those who haven’t been around theater.
“We love done it,” added Smith. “The kids love it. It’s wonderful to see the kids blossom and come out of their shell artistically. There’s a place for everybody, and you see people learn they can do things they didn’t know they could.”
The funds raised through this year’s admission fees will help fund next year’s production, with rights to the plays costing $1,000.
“Willy Wonka Junior” will be presented May 20 at 7 p.m. and May 21 at 2:30 p.m. in the Elkin High School Dixon Auditorium. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students.
Cast members include Shane Wilmoth as candy man/narrator; Avery Atwood as Willy Wonka; Whitney Sprinkle as Charlie Bucket; Jarrett Peterson as James; Corrin Shores as Matilda; Cameron Beals as Mrs. Bucket; Drake Bogart as Mr. Bucket; Brianna Dreyer as Grandma Josephine; Jordan Mays as Grandma Georgina; Jackson Carter as Grandpa George; Harrison Hall as Grandpa Joe; Asher McRitchie as Phineous Trout; Isaac Powell as Augustus Gloop; Emma Aldridge as Mrs. Gloop; Afton Nelson as Veruca Salt; Jacob Bellia as Mr. Salt; Laken Lloyd as Violet Beauregarde; Bayle Wood as Mrs. Beauregarde; Corrin Shores as Mike Teavee; and Hannah Roberts as Ms. Teavee.
Also in the cast are MacKenzie Bullins, Brooke Collins, Kimmie Lomax, Taylor McKnight, Cristina Nava, Nathalie Norman, Reagan Parks, Erica Pineda, Cassady Purvis, Dulce Rodriguez, Karla Romero and MacKenzie Tilley as Oompa-Loompas; Jue Cortez, Isabella Estrada, Tristin Shears and Maggie Tomlin as candy kids and squirrels; and River McConnell as the street sweeper.
Crew includes Elizabeth Yonker as student choreographer; Daniel Soos as student technical director; Dylan Longworth as production assistant; Annie Douglas and Mallie Hutchens as hair and makeup design; Juan Anuario, McKinley Cheek, Maxwell Dumas, Izzy Gonzalez and Matthew Johnson as set crew; Adam Beshears, Lakan Bryant, Beth Coe, Laken Lloyd, Afton Nelson, Hannah Roberts, Natasha Suarez and third-period art class for set design and artwork; and Beth Felts for marketing and publications.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.