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Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School Willy Wonka

By • May 3rd, 2012 • Category: Cappies

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School’s production of Willy Wonka certainly did create a world of imagination with bright colors, silly antics, and a whole lot of spirit.

Willy Wonka is a 2005 musical based on the classic Roald Dahl novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and its subsequent 1971 and 2005 film adaptations starring Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, respectively. The musical features songs, written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, from the 1971 film, as well as additional songs written specifically for the stage adaptation. Willy Wonka tells the story of Charlie Bucket (Josh Carias), a young boy from a poor family who gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to tour Willy Wonka’s world famous chocolate factory with four other young children. Upon meeting the eccentric Wonka (Larson Gore) and entering the factory, Charlie begins the journey of a lifetime.

The cast and crew of Pope John Paul the Great’s production put an impressive amount of effort into creating the fantastic world of the Wonka factory. From the simple yet vibrant costumes (Angelica Barbauta, Kirsten O’Sullivan, Ruth Long, Nora Ogunleye) to the colorful lighting design (Ian Platt, Sean McGabe), the whole stage shone. Despite the occasional struggle to be heard, the cast was remarkable in their strong energy throughout the show. Almost every cast member was brimming with life, and it showed in the smiles on their faces in numbers such as “The Candy Man” and “I’ve got a Golden Ticket!”

Faced with the daunting task of playing a character once played by both Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, Larson Gore took on the role of Willy Wonka with aplomb. His soft voice and comforting air showed a gentler side to Wonka, and he had one of the stronger singing voices in the cast. As Charlie Bucket, Josh Carias had a boundless energy and a commitment to character that was occasionally missing from other areas of the show. With every shout and leap of joy, Carias certainly seemed to be “flying” high!

One standout performance of the show was that of Michael Maggio, who played the fat and ungrateful August Gloop. Maggio’s unabashed love for all things edible and his highly stereotypical German accent provided for some of the funniest moments in the show. Another strong performance was that of Kathryn von Tersch, who played Mrs. Bucket. She had one of the strongest singing voices of the evening, and she gave a realistic portrayal of Charlie’s stressed but loving mother.

Every ticket to Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School’s production of Willy Wonka felt “golden” as the cast and crew gave new life to a timeless classic.

by Mitchell Buckley of Westfield High School

Photo Gallery

(Charlie Bucket) Josh Carias, (Mr. Bucket) Jonathan Madorma (Candy Man) Chris Afcha
(Charlie Bucket) Josh Carias, (Mr. Bucket) Jonathan Madorma
(Candy Man) Chris Afcha
(Ms. Teevee) Nora Ogunleye; (Willy Wonka) Larson Gore; (Veruca Salt) Kirsten O'Sullivan (Willy Wonka) Larson Gore
(Ms. Teevee) Nora Ogunleye; (Willy Wonka) Larson Gore; (Veruca Salt) Kirsten O’Sullivan
(Willy Wonka) Larson Gore

Photos by Jen Cole

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

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