If there is anyone more perfectly cast as an Oompa Loompa--those green-haired, orange-faced, candy-loving worker bees--than a Clifford School K-2nd grader, they missed the audition.
And on Friday, audience members will be treated to the 17-member K-2 ensemble cast of Oompa Loompas and the 42-student main cast of Clifford School students as they, along with the
Willy Wonka Junior opens this Friday, Feb. 22 at Central Middle School in San Carlos. The show runs through Sunday.
This latest musical production by SCCT incorporates the magical world of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka with the talents of the K-8 students at Clifford School in Redwood City.
SCCT artistic director Eron Block considers the show an outreach production, meaning that schools, like Clifford, that want to put on a full out theatrical production, can work with SCCT to bring a show to life.
“We all come in and work with the school and the parents,” said Block, adding that SCCT comes complete with a choreographer, music director, theater manager and technical director.
Click on the PatchClip video above for a glimpse of actor and crew getting ready for Friday's opening night!
Block’s wife, Dana, is SCCT's choreographer and works with the children on their dance moves as well as their positioning on the stage.
Block says the San Carlos School District has partnered with SCCT to bring the performing arts to the students. In addition to the theatre productions, middle school students in the district may take a performing arts class as an elective.
“Having this partnership is right in line with the district’s 21st Century Learning initiative, ” said Block.
“We’re taking theater, which is a first century learning tool, and applying it to a what kids today’s curriculum.”
And students aren’t the only ones doing the learning here says Block.
“Parents of cast members are required to volunteer with the production, and we were blown away by the parents community of Clifford,” said Block
The volunteer role parent Jennifer Overbey took on was that of organizing those 17 Oompa Loompas. As director of ensemble, Overbey has the fun job of making sure the green wigs and orange paint gets applied and everyone lines up in the right spot for their opening number.
“I do this because I love it, and because my son, Topher, really wanted to be in the play,” says Overbey, who is also a kindergarten teacher at Clifford.
On choosing “Willy Wonka” as the inaugural show in the company’s new home theater at Central Middle School, Block says, “I think about how to engage both youth and adults when choosing a play, and this one has so much history and great songs.”
The title “Willie Wonka Junior” refers to the pared down version based on the longer Broadway show. It’s modified for younger actors and audiences.
This week’s rehearsals leading up to Friday’s opening night is referred to as “tech week,” and it’s an all-hands-on-deck polishing of the final production.
Technical director Trevor Lemp is a Clifford alum, who comes back to lend his time and talents to each production. He oversees a crew of eight technicians who handle everything from lighting and sound to prop placement and seating.
“This is my 18th show with SCCT, but my first as tech director said Lemp, who is now a freshman at Everest High School.
“The biggest challenge is managing all of the people—making sure I cc everyone on emails, and that they all coordinate with each other. Another big part of my job is making sure the show is safe and that it all works that nobody is tripping over cables or other equipment. “
Lemp is pleased with the production’s progress at this point in tech week.
“It’s just refining now, getting the sound and lighting right and taking care of every last detail,” he added as he headed up to the sound booth in the rear of the gym-turned-theatre.
For his part as Mr. Salt, 8th grader Devin Hicks said he’s enjoyed playing his character.
“I like the experience of acting and although it’s hard to come here after being at school all day, I’m learning about time management and about how to know what my schedule it is,” he said.
“Willy Wonka Junior”
Lyrics and Music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.
Adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy A. McDonald.
Based on the book Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
Director Eron Block. Choreographer Daina Block.
Music Director Theresa Ames. Ensemble Music Director Jennifer Overbey.
Friday February 22 at 7:00 PM
Saturday February 23 at 7:00 PM
Sunday February 24 at 1:00 PM
Mustang Hall, Central Middle School
828 Chestnut Street, San Carlos
$10 general seating; $15 reserved; $12 at the door
In person at the Clifford School office, 225 Clifford Ave, Redwood City, or
For more info, go to http://www.cliffordschoolpto.org/2013/01/ww/ and