Willy Wonka Jr. in Rockton: pure imagination


Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka Jr.

The Hononegah Performing Arts Centre will host six performances, Feb. 9 - Feb. 12, of the delicious musical Willy Wonka Jr., based on Roald Dahl's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory for which he is credited as screenwriter.

The show is produced by Christian Youth Theater (CYT) - Rockford Chapter, which in recent years has presented The SpongeBob MusicalA Christmas Carol, Madagascar Jr, Beauty and the Beast, and Annie Jr., all at the Hononegah Performing Arts Center, with some of the same cast members. 

Individual and group tickets can be purchased online. Prices in advance are cheaper than prices at the door. Thursday's performances are during school hours - ideal for school groups.

The Show

Adapted from Roald Dahl's beloved classic, Willy Wonka Jr. follows enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever finds one of these tickets will win a lifetime supply of candy, as well as a free tour of the Wonka factory (which has no TV reception, no mobile signal, but many marvelous mysteries). 

Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats of various types, but the fifth is a likeable but very poor young lad named Charlie Bucket, who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable Grandpa Joe. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka's rules in the factory – or suffer the consequences. Which are delicious - at least for the audience. As for the disobedient children...

The 1971 film, starring Gene Wilder, was financed by a Chicago-based subsidiary of Quaker Oats who wanted to launch a new candy bar. The show includes the hit songs "Pure Imagination" and "The Candy Man," written by the songwriting team of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, who also created the musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off.  Bricusse later adapted the movie for the Broadway stage.

The Performances

  • Thursday, Feb 9th @ 9:30am
  • Thursday, Feb 9th @ 11:45am
  • Friday, Feb 10th @ 7:00pm
  • Saturday, Feb 11th @ 2:00pm
  • Saturday, Feb 11th @ 6:00pm
  • Sunday, Feb 12th @ 2:00pm

Ticket Prices:

Purchase online.

* Prices may vary by performance.

  • $15.00: Standard Ticket Price
  • $13.00: Child Ticket Price
    (Max Child Age: 17)
  • $13.00: Group Ticket Price
    (Ticket Minimum: 10)
  • $13.00: Senior Ticket Price
    (Min Senior Age: 60)
  • $13.00: Military Ticket Price
  • $17.00: At Door Price

All ticket sales are final.

School Field Trips [groups of 25+]: https://www.cytchicago.org/schools/
Girl Scout/Boy Scout Groups: https://www.cytchicago.org/scouts/
Birthday Groups: https://www.cytchicago.org/birthdays/

The Company

Since 1980, CYT has become the largest children’s theater organization in the country with more than 38 locations in 25 different cities and enrolling 18,000 students annually. The Rockford chapter is part of CYT Chicago, which produces 18 of these musical theater productions each year in 10 different areas in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Props, sets, and costumes come from CYT Chicago's warehouse in Cary, IL - from more than 40 different shows, and rentable for your next party.

CYT as a theater school offers classes in dance, improv, drama and/or singing to the public for various age levels from 8 to 18. Children ages 5-7 aren't in the big stage musicals, but Tune Town teaches them audition preparation, dance, acting, rhythm and singing.

The CYT Chicago Rockford Chapter usually produces one Broadway-style musical each session. Enrollment in CYT classes provides students (ages 8-18) the opportunity to audition for the current production.

Auditions typically consist of a one-minute song, with the possibility to learn and perform a short dance routine. The audition process may also include a “callback” in which a student may be asked to read for a speaking role in the play. Auditions help students to gain self-confidence and to show the best of their talents.

Students not cast in the show are encouraged to participate in other ways. Depending on age and ability, students (and siblings) can participate on the backstage crew, technical team, or the costume and makeup committees. Some young people take part of a dozen shows or more by the time they turn 18.

One veteran cast member who will be missed is Ryan Sherman, a senior at Guilford High School, who died on Jan. 10, 2023. Ryan started with CYT when he was 8 years old and performed in 16 shows. Most recently, he appeared as Mr. Krabs in The SpongeBob Musical, as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, as the con man Rooster in Annie Jr,  and as Melman the neurotic giraffe in Madagascar Jr.

The Cast

WILLY WONKA: Gillian Nothnagel
GRANDPA JOE: Solomon Rossman
AUGUSTUS GLOOP: Isaiah Stauffer
VERUCA SALT: Ona Steines
MIKE TEAVEE: Nate Kenrick
MRS. BUCKET: Gabby Negrete
MR. BUCKET: Noah Ceniseros
MRS. GLOOP: Isabel Guevara
MR. SALT: Josh Rundblade
MRS. TEAVEE: Kaylee Kramer
MISS TULLY (Candy Man): Lorelai Fishe
JAMES: Cruz Negrete
MATILDA: Aleyah Bailey
JEWEL MCGEE: Molly Matuska

Lucy Axe
Ava Ellis
Anna Fager
Lorelai Fishe
Sofia Guevara
Emily Loner
Adelaide Noble
Luke Paddock
Talia Rossman
Kaitlynn Rundblade
Ila Steines
Olivia Van Hise
Genny Vanderheiden
Cole Young

Aleyah Bailey
MayBell Berkman
Quinn Brothers
Kathleen Derry
Rayce Dempsey
Addie Butz
Noah Ceniseros
Cami Fager
Jordan Helgerson
Ella Hill
Camille Juliano
Ava Johnston
Paige Kohlmeier
Molly Matuska
Cruz Negrete
Gabby Negrete
Livvy Negrete *
Eve Nelsen *
Selena Nelsen
Allison Pfeil
Everly Nelson
Makenah Schwanebeck *
Isabelle Stauffer

Lilia Anucauskas
Brielle Bailey
Paisley Brockett
Sarah Cuevas
Addison Coke Isabelle Butz
Parker Brockett *
Lucia DeLay
Malachi Ellis
Ethan Helgerson
Harper Hoskinson
Nautica Marchese
Luke Meyer
Ruby Milsaps
Austin Mulder
Lydia Mulder
Noelle Nelsen
Nora Nelsen
Attalie Nelson
John Noble #
Sophie Pauli *
Ike Piske #
Kate Schemel
Demi Schuckman
Orson Steines
Lauren Tibbetts
Adalie Van Theil

* Oompa Loompa Soloist
#Camera Person

The Songs

  • Pure Imagination
  • Golden Age of Chocolate
  • The Candy Man
  • I Eat More
  • Think Positive
  • I See it All on TV
  • Cheer Up Charlie
  • Think Positive (Reprise)
  • At the Gates
  • In This Room
  • Oompa-Loompa 1
  • There's No Knowing
  • Oompa-Loompa 2
  • Chew It
  • Flying
  • Burping Song
  • I Want it Now!
  • Oompa-Loompa 3
  • Oompa-Loompa 4
  • Finale
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