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Theater Review: ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’ at The Sanibel School

By Staff | Nov 27, 2013
Anna Snow as the magical, yet mysterious Willie Wonka. Marsha Wagner.
The cast of Willy Wonka Jr. on stage. Marsha Wagner.
The cast of Willy Wonka Jr. on stage. Marsha Wagner.

The wonderful Sanibel School’s Performing Arts Class, under the keen eyed leadership of Musical Director Joseph M. Angelo took the fun elements of ” Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, and turned it into a “scrumdidilyumptious” two act musical that had both heart and even some life’s lessons embedded in it.

The terrific cast is anchored by (cast two member) Anna Snow as the magical, yet mysterious Willie Wonka. The plot kicks off, when Wonka makes plans to select five lucky kids to tour his candy factory; along with a life time supply of candy. Wonka places five golden tickets in the candy wrappers of chocolate bars. Talented, captivating Anna Snow with her winning grin, wry twinkle in her eyes, lovely voice and just the right amount of mystery, she was terrific as she plots to narrate a factory tour, then orchestrate the proceedings with a wave of her magic wand (actually a walking stick), while handing out appropriate comeuppances for any and all of the obnoxious, rule breaking, winners.

Among the misbehaving youngsters and their laidback parents, the standouts include Maddie Pezzi as Violet Beauregarde, who somehow managed to tap into the ghost of Scarlet O’Hara as she fiddle dee deed, her way through her role, as a plus perfect gum chomping “Southern Belle.” In her role of Mrs. Beauregarde, a clueless mom, Jennifer Crown was first rate. Another winner and standout performer was Jake Mann as Mike Teevee the gun totin,’ rootin’, tootin’, TV addicted cowboy, and his hapless mom Ms. Teevee (Kristen Duvant). Last but in no way least was the final winner of the Wonka contest, Charlie Bucket, played to perfection by a truly remarkable talent (and one we can expect to hear more about) Georgia Congress Wait! Mustn’t forget to mention Charlie’s, very funny, and spry, Grandpa Joe, portrayed by Will von Wowern. Oops almost forgot to mention, Isabella Sbarra-Michelland as the Candy Man belting out the hit tune from the show, “The Candy Man.” Add to the mix one heck of a tremendous cast of brightly clad, Oopa-Loompas kicking up their heels with choreography by Hannah Fay, Ann Snow, Georgia Congress, Kristen Dunavant, and Daisy Arensman and Julia Holston. The set design and painting was extremely well done by students: Claire Minoui, Mark Sheme, Jake Mann, Kristina Allen, Jennifer Crown, Maxime Milville, Isabella DeCosta, and Marissa Thomas. Sound Tech.: Paul Walker and Nick Ashton. Spot Light: Katherine Strange, Kendall Stelle and Griffin Kupsaw. We also need to acknowledge the nameless parents and volunteers who make these productions the awesome theatrical creations they are. Thank you one and all for a great fun evening watching our island’s young people strut their stuff.

So the question is: Who can make a show shine; make it really better than just fine? The answer is Mr. Angelo and all the Sanibel School’s Performing Arts classes of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students can; with dedication, cooperation and a big dose of commitment. Just view the photos taken during performance and a pre-performance’s vocal warm-up with musical Director/Producer Mr. Angelo. It’s easy to see why Sanibel School’s musical productions always hit the target, making these performances a never to be missed event, for one and all, regardless of age. Our island young people are really fortunate to have such fine teachers and such an exceptional performing arts program, especially at this time, when so many arts programs are being cut from the curriculum.

Bottom line is Willie Wonka Jr. was quite simply “scrumdidilyumptious”. Now mark down this date, Dec. 12, when Sanibel School’s Performing Arts Class performs their Holiday program, curtain is at 7 p.m., tickets may be purchased at the door, prices are: Adults $8 Children aged 5-8, $3. Remember when you attend, remind ’em Marsha sent you.