A sneak preview to the CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY cast and crew!

3:23 PM
By Kelsey Lauren
Rehearsals for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY kicked off on February 7, beginning with a Meet and Greet with the First Stage staff and the production’s cast and crew. Many of the young performers and veteran actors alike ran into the rehearsal hall to catch up with old friends while simultaneously meeting new friends.   Additionally, Managing Director Rob Goodman and Artistic Director/CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Director Jeff Frank also caught up before the Meet and Greet began.
Stage Manager Caskey Hunsader and Assistant Stage Manager Hannah Binish prepared themselves, the designers, and the cast for the first rehearsal by making sure that all were present and everyone had what they needed to pursue a successful production.
At 4 p.m. the meeting began with Jeff welcoming all the members of the cast, crew, designers, and  First Stage staff . He introduced himself by talking about what CHARLIE means to him.   “Within the Bucket household there is still love and hope despite the economic situation.” Frank drew parallels to how this play is very similar to today’s world. “Here is a kid who is rewarded because he does all the right things…because it’s his essence…it’s who he is!”
Jeff also explained how he perceives the heart, imagination, and messages of hope in the story.  Acknowledging Rob, Jeff says, “Rob is someone who has taught me about hope and dreams.”

The atmosphere in the room instantly turned from initial excitement to sheer joy, and thrill to be working on a piece as special and honest as CHARLIE. After his opening remarks, Jeff allowed everyone in the room to introduce themsleves – all young performers including 12 Oompa-Loompas per cast, adult actors, designers, and administrative staff. From the managing director all the way down to the intern, by simply stating our name and sharing our position served at First Stage, Jeff formed an inclusive, comfortable setting.

As the introductions wrapped up, Frank prepared to share the set design by Scenic Designer David Minkoff. The magnificent set model allowed for all minds to envision a chocolate fountain, “glass” tube, boat, and many other intricate details. Next on the agenda was presenting the costume designs. Displaying the beautiful and detailed costume renderings was Costume Designer and First Stage Costume Crafts Artisan Brandon Kirkham. He explained each costume for every character, then passed each rendering throughout the group. Everyone smiled as the costume renderings were exactly as one could imagine.

 As the Meet and Greet drew to a close, Jeff asked the Oompa-Loompas to share what they had been working on for us . The catchy song made the room even more excited to rehearse.

The Meet and Greet ended on a very positive note as Frank thanked the room for attending, and passionately encouraged us to visit and see the show progress!

Tickets for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY start at $13.  Tickets may be purchased at www.firststage.org or through the Marcus Center box office, in person at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500.  The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.

Performance dates:  CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY opens Friday, March 2, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. Other performances are held:  Saturday, March 3 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 4 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 11 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 17 at 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, March 18 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 24 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 25 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 31 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 1 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.

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