As Springfield tiny Theatre prepares come wrap increase its last weekend that “Willy Wonka Jr.,” co-director Eli Cunningham states audience an answer to the production has been terrific.

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“Audiences room telling united state it’s their favorite display they’ve watched in a lengthy time,” Cunningham says. “Even though we room at what is basically 30 percent capacity v distancing, our audiences are tiny but mighty. We’re yes, really loving the power they’re bringing v them.”

Cunningham — that co-directs the musical through Zoe Zelonky — says “Willy Wonka Jr.” originally was planned come be part of the nonprofit’s education collection last year.

The pandemic scuttled that plan, so planners made decision to pare the down and also give that a clues on the key stage of the Landers.

Inspired by the widely known novel “Charlie and the coco Factory,” by Roald Dahl, Cunningham claims the small version typically calls for a cast of 60 come 100 members. Provided restrictions in make the efforts to border the spread of COVID-19, the cast was pared come 26.


“It’s been a blast to put together,” says Cunningham, who began as a kid with SLT and also returned a couple of years back after around a decade functioning in film and television.

He and also Zelonky chose to double-cast the duties of the children who win the gold ticket to tour the candy Man’s manufacturing facility in order to give more children the possibility to shine onstage.

The children alternate performances, giving each present a fully different personality.

“Each (actor) bring their own flavor,” Cunningham says. Because that example, he states the to kids playing Charlie — Chloe Huang and also Kyrie Leininger — have different interpretations the the very same character. “You acquire two entirely different Charlie Buckets,” that says.


The production contains familiar songs from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder such together “Pure Imagination,” “The candy Man” and also “Oompa-Loompa-Doompadee-Doo” along with new songs composed for this adaptation.

The present has a very high energy, the says, v gymnastics and also other advanced choreography.

While adults generally aren’t cast in junior productions, Cunningham says legal rights holders lifted the restriction since of the pandemic, which permitted them to cast some adult in vital roles. The junior mirrors also administer a soundtrack, which allows producers to rationalization the manufacturing by remove the orchestra.

The display runs just over one hour with no intermission.

“It’s to be so nice to work on a present like that due to the fact that it moves very quickly,” that says.

And, he says, obtaining the kids earlier onstage has actually been rewarding.

“Some of this kids, it’s the very first production in a year or end a year. It’s been really nice to acquire them ago out there.”


Want come go?

What: Springfield small Theatre’s production of “Willy Wonka Jr.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday (April 8-9); 10:30 a.m. Saturday (April 10); 2 p.m. Saturday and also Sunday (April 10-11)

Where: The Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut St.

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Cost: $28 adults; $26 adults 62 and older, students and military with ID; groups 10+ $11-$21. Tickets easily accessible by phone call 417-869-1334 or in ~ www.springfieldlittletheatre.org.