Running since March 2017 Young Charlie Bucket wins the opportunity to visit the world famous chocolate factory of candy inventor Willy Wonka in this musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic tale.
The Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory closed January 14, 2018. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.
From the producers: Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.
British author Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was first published in 1964. The book was adapted into two major motion pictures: "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" in 1971, starring Gene Wilder, and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in 2005, starring Johnny Depp.
Tony Award winner Christian Borle ("Something Rotten," "Peter and the Starcatcher") stars as Willy Wonka in this Broadway premiere. The Olivier and Evening Standard Award-winning London production has broken house records at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where it has been seen by more than 1.8 million people since it opened in June 2013.
A middle-of-the-road musical with a pale score, a flavorless book and a dearth of eye candy...Songs bog down in exposition. There are silver linings...Oompa Loompas get plenty of stage time and are conjured cleverly. Famous songs from the 1971 movie are happily in the mix. Heading a large, game and polished cast, Borle has panache as Wonka. He plays the chocolate maker as snarky, not all that sinister. This Ooma Loompa Doom-Pa-Dee Do-Over still needs work.
The roles are mostly well played, Grieg's book is fine, the songs are serviceable, and the sets are fairly clever, but none of it is...transporting. Hands down, the best thing about the new production is Borle as Wonka. [He] handles the near-impossible task remarkably well. What is [surprising] is how flat most of the musical feels. From the moment the curtain raises until the moment it finally drops, there's a sense that something is missing. Something magical.
Perversely charmless...kids might find more to enjoy in this frantic Frankenstein's monster of a show, but that doesn't make it less of a misfire. Somewhere along the way, the spirit of Dahl's writing has gotten trampled - the nimble wordplay, the eccentric humor, the mischievous horror, the mordant social satire - replaced by an abrasive parade of garish color and ugly incidents that rarely spell fun. Between O'Brien's hyperactive direction and Thompson's biliously colorful designs, there's little to love.
New York Magazine
With fans invested in the different versions of the tale, the authors seem to have felt obligated to include elements of all three, leading to a confusion of characterization and tone...a professional but unmemorable score...at least the Oompa-Loompas are fun. Wonka, despite Borle's somewhat listless attempts to justify him, is hardly more likeable than the awful kids and their families, whereas Charlie and his family are sweet but negligible. "Charlie" is a lesson in what happens when pure imagination sours.
New York Times
This big but tentative show...doesn't burst with flavor of any kind, at least not during its exposition-crammed first act. Only in its second half does the show acquire a distinct taste. O'Brien's production dials down the spectacle. Shaiman and Wittman have created an assortment of new satirical and sentimental songs, which are largely forgettable. Most gratifying, though, is the transformation of Mr. Borle...this Willy switches into dissing diva mode, with a skip in his step and a fork in his tongue.
Alas, especially in the long and slow first act, it's almost painful to watch Borle, a master of endearing virtuosity, work so hard to sell charm that simply isn't in the script, the music and too much of the staging. The best songs, except for a clever patter number for Wonka, are old ones from the movie. Until Wonka takes the story's five young hopefuls on a second-act tour of his magical and perilous chocolate factory, the show is saccharine and soporific.
Time Out New York
Joyless, shapeless and grating...cheap, cynical pastiche...the limping first act is riddled with countless missteps and badly placed songs, sludgy narrative movement and jokes that go splat. One blessing is [the] adult actors portraying the bad tots. Another fleetingly fun element is the handling of [the] Oompa Loompas. But for the most part, O'Brien directs this dull, clunky adaptation of the book and movie with none of the wit of the former nor the dreamy wonder of the latter.
The uncanny darkness of Dahl's imagination has been lightened and brightened in [this] mechanized production. While visually droll, too many of these gimmicks distract from the story and encourage the cartoon treatment of characters as caricatures. Happily, the character of Charlie escapes this mishandling. Wonka... as played by Christian Borle [is] much too charming and lacks the aura of stranger-danger that Dahl took care to give him in his story.