Students of The School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales practice for their debut of ‘Willy Wonka Junior’ on Tuesday afternoon in
Students of The School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales practice for their debut of ‘Willy Wonka Junior’ on Tuesday afternoon in Bennington. (Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner/photos.benningtonbanner.com)

BENNINGTON -- Students in grades five through eight from the Sacred Heart School will transport their audience to a world of pure imagination this week, with three performances of "Willy Wonka Junior."

The performances, which will take place at the school, located at 307 School St., all begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. As in years past, the play is directed and produced by Sacred Heart Principal David Estes.

The play, presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International, is based on the plot of Roald Dahl's 1964 children's book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." It features many songs from the 1971 film version of the story, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," starring Gene Wilder, but also features several new pieces. It was adapted for stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald, with Bricusse writing new musical to go along with Anthony Newley's music from the film.

Sacred Heart puts on a musical every spring. Last year, the students performed "The Little Mermaid," and in years past have acted out a wide variety of musicals, including "Godspell," "Annie," "Seussical the Musical," and "Aladdin Junior."

For the unfamiliar, the musical, "follows enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptuous candy bars," according to the synopsis from MTI, "Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: The fifth is a likable young lad named Charlie Bucket who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka's rules in the factory -- or suffer the consequences."

"Willy Wonka Junior" is designed to have a flexible cast, in that many of the roles are designed to be able to be played by either males or females, and there are plenty of roles to go around for larger class sizes. According to Estes, 42 children will be participating.

The titular character will be played by Carly Bylina, with Logan Broderson playing the role of Charlie Bucket. His Grandpa Joe will be played by Jonah Hydzik. Of the four other golden ticket winners, Augustus Gloop will be played by Brandon Anderson and Antonia Pellon, Veruca Salt will be played by C.C. Coffield, Violet Beauregarde will be played by Olivia Hydzik, and Mike Teavee will be played by Adam Frost.

Choreography was done by Kristi and Enrique Segura, the props and set were designed by Chelsea Lutz Jennie Hogan, Crystal Harris, Linda Guetti, Coleen Zimpfer, Ramona Hyzdik, and Michelle Gorry. The sound technician is Sarah Lapean.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB