Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Education

November 9, 2012

GJHS stages "Wonka, Jr." for two-night engagement

Greensburg — On Friday night at 7 p.m., the Greensburg Junior High School (GJHS) Drama Department will raise the curtain on one of the largest, most ambitious productions it’s ever staged.

According director and GJHS Drama Coach Heather Simpson, 150 students auditioned for playwright Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka, Jr.”

“It’s hands down the largest cast I’ve ever worked with,” Simpson said. “We held auditions in August and have been working extremely hard. I was a little worried about our two-week Fall Break. We didn’t hold any practices during that time frame, and I was afraid everything might fall apart while the kids were on vacation — that everyone would forget their lines and their marks.”

She continued, “But the kids have been amazing. They didn’t miss a beat, and they’re ready to put on a great show.”

Simpson described her principal cast as seventh- and- eighth-grade stage “veterans,” adding that the show is extremely family friendly.

According to Wikipedia, “Willy Wonka, Jr.” is a scaled-down version of the world-famous stage musical “Willy Wonka,” itself an adaptation of both Dahl’s 1964 book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and of the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”

The “Junior” version is designed to work well with the limited resources available to public-school drama departments, while maintaining the adult-version’s large cast.

The Daily News attended a preview performance of the GJHS production Thursday afternoon held for other GJHS students. This reporter found the production to be colorful, creative and filled with music.

In addition to the Friday evening performance in the GJHS auditorium, the play will also be staged Saturday night, also at 7 p.m.

Admission to both “Willy Wonka, Jr.” performances is $5 at the door, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on GJHS’s production of “Willy Wonka, Jr., call Heather Simpson at 593-4966 or call GJHS at 663-7523.

Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.

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