If you’re looking for a fun show to satisfy your sweet tooth, DON’T LISTEN TO THE CRITICS and get your Golden Ticket to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway. I saw this show during previews and it was fantastic. Christian Borle was wonderful as Willy Wonka because he emulated the portrayals of both Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp. He had just the right amount of whimsical charm mixed with weird that made me fall in love with his version of the Candy Man.
The Charlie I had that night, Ryan Sell, was super adorable and a amazing performer. I loved how he captured the innocence and intelligence of Charlie Bucket and his singing voice was on point. As for the show itself, many people have been critcizing it for various aspects, and while I won’t get into all of that, there really wasn’t much that I didn’t like about the show. The one part that I thought would make me hate the show, the children besides Charlie being played by adults, actually didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, although it did throw me off at times. Other than that, and one or two way-too-obvious “magic tricks”, I enjoyed everything.
I’ve read the complaints that the set design is much too sparse for a show with a character known for his extravagance, but I think the designers were aiming to make the audience use their imaginations to fill in the gaps. After all, the show is about making something out of nothing, and while I could’ve done with a bigger chocolate room, I see what they were trying to do.
What I loved about the show was that it struck me with a feeling of awe. There was so much magic on that stage, in the illusions and in Christian Borle’s beautiful voice. It made me feel like I was a child again, because I’ve loved the original story for years and it gave me that sense of wonder that came with reading the book and watching the movies a kid. I also loved that most of the music was upbeat and fun, while some of it consisted of moving ballads, and it was great that Willy Wonka’s songs were quirky and matched his personality. I especially loved that they used the classic music from the Gene Wilder film, and I think that evoked nostalgia for a lot of people.
Despite what everyone thinks, this a beautiful show and everyone should go see it.
P.S. This is the best song ever in case anyone was wondering: https://open.spotify.com/track/7HtLDwpnQaYhbbiR2X02NG
Musical theater quote of the day: “You can change the world when you change your mind.”- Kinky Boots