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  Willy Wonka at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Willy Wonka

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

Willy Wonka and his band of Oompa Loompas lead the sweet-natured Charlie Bucket and four other Golden Ticket winners on the tour of a lifetime through a mysterious candymaker's fantastical factory. Musical features such memorable songs as "The Candy Man" and "Pure Imagination."

Thru - Aug 17, 2008

Price: $18-$23

Show Type: Childrens

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 1hr 10mins; no intermission

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  Willy Wonka Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Not only is this seasonal attraction on the Pier a moving and enjoyable confection, you can also see the seeds of what this show could become, if expanded. Already production values go well beyond what many Navy Pier visitors will expect. Still, my main criticisms of the Chicago Shakespeare version are just that the cast is too small and there is just not enough time to develop characters or get in all the book’s plot points—so the famous glass elevator is AWOL, and the pictures of both Charlie Bucket’s family and the naughty, competitive children are all too brief."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Beyond exploits in a candy factory (suggested by a rather cartoonish, low-tech set) this show -- with a score more serviceable than wholly enchanting -- is about decency, modesty and honesty, with a telling nod to the gap between rich and poor. Fortunato's understated approach is neatly matched to Andrews' fleet but similarly watchful way of inhabiting the stage."
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Hedy Weiss

SouthtownStar - Highly Recommended

"...Filled with mystery and fantasy, the musical of"Willy Wonka" enchants children and adults alike. Instructive and great fun, the children's classic, as presented at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, is a gem, especially since it doesn't talk down to anyone."
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Betty Mohr

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...there’s no getting around the script’s texture-forsaken, paradox-neatening, irony-hating core. Sean Fortunato is a solid actor, but he can’t help coming across as an amiably dull Wonka: the role’s just built that way. Patrick Andrews, meanwhile, is miscast as Charlie. His aura of innocence worked extremely well in American Theater Company’s Speech and Debate a few months ago, where it was applied to a kid who trolls the Web for gay assignations; here, though, his winsomeness just seems spazzy."
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Tony Adler

Chicago Free Press - Recommended

"...Admittedly, at 65 minutes “Willy Wonka” is too short a diabetic fantasy to provide texture and this adaptation misrepresents the real sacrifice that Charlie makes to prove his worthiness (involving a refusal to profit from industrial espionage). But this picture-perfect presentation should disappoint few true believers and it’s too fast to be fattening or cloying."
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Lawrence Bommer

EpochTimes - Highly Recommended

"...Director Joe Leonardi has put together an all-star cast to bring these colorful characters to life on a dynamite set by Alan Edward Schwanke and adorable costumes by Alison Siple. The choreography is by Stacey Flaster ( she seems to be at every theater of late- how does she do it? And do it so well!)."

Al Bresloff

Copley News Service - Highly Recommended

"...The Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Willy Wonka may not be as dark as the original Roald Dahl novel or as eccentric as the two motion picture adaptations, but as children’s theater it’s 65 minutes of complete delight."

Dan Zeff - Recommended

"...for the most part, the production thrives in its small-scale simplicity. Its age-old message of humility and kindness is still heartwarmingly contagious and its narrative is as fanciful as ever. Judging by the reactions throughout its opening, the kids will eat up every tasty morsel."
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Alissa Norby

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The terrific puppets (by Meredith Miller), the colorful costumes (by Alison Siple) add depth to the stellar production values to the bouncy, toe-tapping Bricusse & Newley score wonderfully sung by the cast."
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Tom Williams

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