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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Original Broadway Cast Recording


Music: Marc Shaiman
Lyrics: Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Book: David Greig
Performed by: Christian Borle, John Rubinstein, Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust and Ryan Sell
Label: Masterworks Broadway
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 23 June 2017

There has been much talk of the transfer of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory from London to Broadway - more of a refurbishment, than a straight transfer it must be said. It did OK in London, but no one seemed to really rave about it, and it had a perhaps shorter than you would expect run at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The Broadway musical officially opened Sunday, 23 April 2017 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. With direction by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, Dahl’s classic features music by Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum theatre David Greig, choreography by Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse and includes additional songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the 1971 Warner Bros. motion picture.

The company of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is led by two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle (Willy Wonka) in a cast of 35 that includes Tony Award winner John Rubinstein as Grandpa Joe (Pippin), Emily Padgett as Mrs. Bucket (Side Show), Kathy Fitzgerald as Mrs. Gloop (9 to 5), F. Michael Haynie as Augustus Gloop (Wicked), Ben Crawford as Mr. Salt (Shrek), Emma Pfaeffle as Veruca Salt (Finding Neverland),Alan H. Green as Mr. Beauregarde (School of Rock), Trista Dollison as Violet Beauregarde (A Bronx Tale), Jackie Hoffman as Mrs. Teavee (On The Town), Michael Wartella as Mike Teavee (Tuck Everlasting) and introducing Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust and Ryan Sell making their Broadway debuts as Charlie Bucket, with Yesenia Ayala (Broadway Debut), Darius Barnes (Cinderella), Colin Bradbury (Come Fly Away), Jared Bradshaw (Jersey Boys), Ryan Breslin (Newsies), Kristy Cates (Finding Neverland), Madeleine Doherty (The Producers), Paloma Garcia-Lee (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Stephanie Gibson (Cinderella), Talya Groves (Motown), Cory Lingner (On The Town), Elliott Mattox (Broadway Debut), Monette McKay (Memphis), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots), Paul Slade Smith (Finding Neverland), Katie Webber (Wicked), Stephen Carrasco (Fiddler on the Roof), Robin Masella (Cats), Kristin Piro (An American In Paris), Amy Quanbeck (Broadway Debut), Michael Williams (On The Town), and Mikey Winslow (On The Town).

For more than 50 years, Roald Dahl's story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has captured imaginations around the world. 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 exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka's army of curious Oompa-Loompas.

There are several differences to the London Production, and they are changes for the better, and certainly make getting hold of this new recording a worthwhile investment. The kids in the original production are now replaced by adults (apart from Charlie) and this works better in my mind from a performance point of view on a cast recording. There are a handful (well, I think I count 9) which are a mixture of new Shaiman songs, and some from the film - one thing that the original production should have done a long time ago. 'Pure Imagination' (the only song from the film featured in the London Production) stuck out like a golden gobstopper before, and it’s nice for other superb songs from the film made it over the water.

It’s a great score, and the new songs just improve it further. Probably my favourite number is a new addition ‘The View From Here’, but it’s so hard to single any of these numbers out. Besterman’s orchestrations, added to by Michael Starobin are about as perfect as you can get for this sort of score.

Simply go buy, and enjoy.


Ian Gude

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