By ROBYN ZELICKSON
Actor Gene Wilder, 83, died on Aug. 29 – the day that auditions began for the Pima Community College Theatre Arts production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Wilder was well-known for playing the role of Willy Wonka in Mel Stuart’s 1971 film adaption of Roald Dahl’s book.
PCC director Mickey Nugent says that he “could not ignore the irony of the timing” and will dedicate Pima’s performances to Wilder’s memory.
Nugent is using a stage adaptation by Richard R. George and will be working with a group of talented PCC student actors. The cast is led by Marchus Lewis, who plays Willy Wonka. Connor Danley plays Charlie.
Lewis, who doubles as a scenic designer, is feeling the pressure of his role.
“I’m nervous,” he says. “I hope I can do the character justice. I want to bring a new light to the character that hasn’t been done before.”
Danley is acting in his first show at Pima. He was home-schooled until eighth grade, and found his passion for acting in the sixth grade after joining a theater club.
“Once I got to high school, I tried out for every show,” Danley says.
Director Nugent says he was drawn to the play for three reasons.
First, he is a big fan of Dahl’s work. Nugent enjoyed Dahl’s “The BFG” and has worked on a stage adaptation, but has never had a chance to direct “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
His second reason is that “Charlie” is well-known among children and adults.
Lastly, the powerful messages of the story strongly appeal to Nugent. The wild world that Dahl created brings to life themes such as love and family, poverty and entitlement.
PCC’s Stagecraft class is constructing a “magical wonka-rific set” that Marketing/Public Relations Director Carol Carder says “draws the audience in with oversized fantastical moving contraptions inspired by Rube Goldberg.”
The builders and designers include Lead Production Designer Todd Poelstra, Technical Director and Scenic Designer Anthony Richards and Scenic Designer Marchus Lewis.
Poelstra describes the project as a “collective experience.”
Public performances will be Sept. 21-Oct. 2 in the West Campus Proscenium Theatre. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. plus Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
PCC will host a Scout Theatre Night Adventure on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Discount tickets are available for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and troop leaders.
The adventure includes a post-show tour of the backstage area, where scouts can learn about the sets, costumes, lighting and acting processes. Cast members and the director will offer an onstage question-and-answer session for participants.
American Sign Language interpreters will be available on Sept.30.
Tickets cost $8, with discounts available for groups of 10 or more. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from noon-5 p.m. and for one hour before each performance.
For further information, call 206-6986, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit pima.edu/cfa.
Director Nugent invites audiences to follow Charlie Bucket’s example: Make smart choices and good decisions with kindness and affection.
“Doing the right thing always brings you a better way of living,” Nugent says.
Narrator: Oksana Perez
Willy Wonka: Marchus Lewis
Charlie Bucket: Connor Danley
Grandpa Joe: Chris Dobson
Grandma Josephine/Oompa-Loompa: Zuriel Lloyd
Grandpa George/Oompa-Loompa: Nicolas Holt
Grandma Georgina/Oompa-Loompa: Kelly Coates
Mr Bucket/Oompa-Loompa: Jeremy Sick
Mrs. Bucket/Oompa-Loompa: Maddie Hricik
Augustus Gloop: Phil Watson
Mrs. Gloop: Hailee Kayfes
Violet Beauregarde: Angelica Ornelas
Mrs. Beauregarde: Beverly Ihli
Veruca Salt: Jessica Palmer
Mr. Salt: Rafael Acuña
Mrs. Salt: Mandy Kessler
Mike Teavee: Cole Potwardowski
Mr. Teavee: Daniel Burton
Mrs. Teavee: Taylor Hernandez
Costume designer: Emily Fuchs
Sound designer: Dominique Ahumada
Video designer: Beverly Ihli
Stage manager: Michaela Ivey
Assistant stage manager: Angelica Ornelas
Assistant video designer: Wesley Creigh
Assistant lighting designer: Jessica Palmer
Props: Nicolas Holt, Bianca Regalado
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
Where: Proscenium Theatre, West Campus Center for the Arts
When: Sept. 21-Oct. 2 Fridays: 7 p.m., Saturdays: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays: 2 p.m.
Tickets: $8, with discounts available
Box office: 206-6986
Contest offer chance for golden ticket
For the duration of the 2016-17 season, the Pima Community College Center for the Arts will hold a Golden Ticket contest. To enter, stop by the CFA box office on West Campus and pick up a Golden Ticket contest card.
Bring the ticket to each PCC arts event you attend this season and you’ll earn a punch on your ticket. Once you have all five squares punched, turn your ticket in at the box office and get another contest card.
All completed cards will be entered into a drawing for a season’s pass for every event in the 2017-18 season. For complete rules and information, visit the Center for the Arts website at pima.edu/cfa.