FARMINGTON – The sugar-coated magic of the candy man will come to the University of Maine at Farmington’s Alumni Theater as Sandy River Players’ Children’s Summer Musical Theatre presents its production of Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka Junior.”

The one-weekend show will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 11-13.

The story has become familiar to readers and audiences of the past 40 years – an eccentric inventor invites an eclectic group of visitors to his factory where they discover the mysteries behind the most popular candy in the world.

Dahl created the classic character in the 1960s, Gene Wilder popularized the film version in the 1970s and Johnny Depp and Tim Burton revived the classic a few years ago.

Director Jessica Longstreet has assembled a cast with Nathan Backus, recently seen in Sandy River Players’ production of “Oliver!,” playing Wonka. Taylor James Crawford plays Charlie Bucket, finder of the final Golden Ticket that allows him, and his Grandpa Joe (Noah LePage) to join the tour group.

The rude, demanding, self-centered collection of kids joining Charlie are Kristyn Wiles as Veruca Salt, Patrick Donaghue as Augustus Gloop, Sierra Hoes as Violet Beauregarde, and Julian Eriksen-Thomson as Mike Teavee. Sawyer Zundel’s Phineous Trout delivers news of the tour group to the rest of the world. And, of course, there are Oompa Loompas galore.

Lending their talents off-stage are Andrea Keirstead, music director; recent Mt. Blue graduate Caitilin O’Reilly, choreographing musical numbers; and UMF students Mark Lemos, Megan Doane, Nick King and Jared Hanna, technical duties.

The performances of “Willy Wonka Junior” mark the culmination of a three-week day camp experience offered through Sandy River Players.

Shows will be at 7 p.m. Friday, July 11, and Saturday, July 12, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, July 13, at UMF’s Alumni Theater. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens. They are available at Howard’s Rexall or by calling the Sandy River Players box office at 779-7084.


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