Willy Wonka Jr. opens tonight at Arkansas Rep

Image may contain: textA local cast of 39 young actors will present Willy Wonka Jr. on the MainStage at Arkansas Repertory Theatre this summer. The production, which runs June 21-30, is based on the classic tale by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“We were amazed by the level of interest and talent at auditions,” said Anna Kimmell, Director of Education at The Rep, who is the production’s director and choreographer. “These students are serious about theatre – many of them plan to pursue acting professionally. Prepare to be ‘wowed’ by their talents.”

Tickets start at $15 and are available at TheRep.org, by phone at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting the Box Office at 601 Main Street in Little Rock.

Willy Wonka Jr. is a musical adaptation of the story about enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka, who stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whomever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats, but the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory – or suffer the consequences!

“This production features many of the iconic songs from the 1971 film,” Kimmell said. “But we’re also putting our own Rep-spin on this classic by adding imaginative, theatrical elements to the design and staging. It will be a perfect mix of ‘nostalgic’ and ‘new’ to entertain the young and the young at heart.”

The cast includes Lucas Bachus (Grandpa George), Collin Carlton (Charlie Bucket), Jacob Grinder (Augustus Gloop), Izzy Hammonds (Mrs. Bucket), Emla Holsted (Mrs. Beauregarde), Jackson Karl (Phineous Trout), Tania Renee Kelley (Veruca Salt), Caitlyn Olivia Luna (Grandma Josephine), Isabella Nguyen (Violet Beauregarde), Jesse Niswanger (Grandpa Joe), Cabe Parrish (Mrs. Gloop), Corbin Pitts (Mike Teavee), Will Porter (Willy Wonka), Alexandra Powell (Grandma Georgina), Anna Reynolds (Ms. Teavee), William Romain (Mr. Bucket), and Grant Wild (Mr. Salt).

Featured dancers are Sela Booher, Chaelie DeJohn, Amaya Hardin, Caroline Perry, Grace Pitts, and Nate Westerman. The Ensemble includes Eliah Boles, Adelaide Bricker, Emilea Derden, Chelsea Elise Franklin, Robert Gatlin, Alex Harkins, Lauren Lasseigne, Chloe Grace Luna, Betsy McClure, Taylor Moore, Charlie Mulhollan, Emily Pyron, Melody Small, Miles Tillemans, Magnolia Vincent, and Walt Wenger

The design and creative team includes Anna Kimmell, director/choreographer; Mark Binns, musical director; Zachery Ingersoll, assistant director; Mike Nichols, scenic designer; Holly Payne, costume designer; Lynda J. Kwallek, properties designer; Josh Anderson, lighting designer; and Luke Mitchell, sound designer. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the production stage manager is Merit Glover. Adrian Griffey is the assistant stage manager.

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The Fifth Month offers the final five days to explore NATIVE GARDENS at Arkansas Rep

Tonight (Wednesday, May 1) through Sunday, May 5, are the final five days to experience Karen Zacarias’ hilarious comedy NATIVE GARDENS on the Arkansas Rep stage.

This hilarious new comedy features cultures and gardens clashing, which turns well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies.

In Native Gardens, Pablo, a rising attorney, and doctoral candidate Tania, his pregnant wife, have purchased a home next to Frank and Virginia, a D.C. couple with a prize-worthy English garden. But an impending cookout for Pablo’s colleagues and a dispute over a long-standing fence line soon spiral into a border dispute, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class, and privilege.

The Arkansas Rep cast includes Rachel Harker (Virginia Butley), Kurt Zischke (Frank Butley), Aurora Leonard (Tania Del Valle) and Gabriel Pena (Pablo Del Valle).

Little Rock native Steve Broadnax III is the play’s director. The design and creative team includes Holly Payne, costume designer; Lynda J. Kwallek, properties designer; Mike Nichols, resident set designer/technical director; and Yael Lubetzky, lighting designer. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Colin JB.

Zacarías is one of the most produced playwrights in the nation. She is one of the inaugural Resident Playwrights at Arena Stage in Washington D.C, and is a core founder of the LATINX THEATRE COMMONS. She is founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award-winning company that teaches playwriting in public schools in Washington D.C.

Tickets start at $20. Discounts are available for full-time students, season subscribers, seniors and military personnel. For complete information, visit TheRep.org.

Go Native – comedy NATIVE GARDENS on Arkansas Rep stage through May 5

A hilarious new comedy where cultures and gardens clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies, is up next in Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s 2019 Season.Native Gardens, by Karen Zacarías, runs April 17-May 5. Tickets are available at TheRep.org.

“This hilarious comedy is going to have all the staples of a Rep production including a beautiful set and great acting,” said Karen Rudolph, Director of Marketing & Audience Engagement. “Spring is here, gardens are blooming and the community is ready to laugh. This play will deliver.”

In Native Gardens, Pablo, a rising attorney, and doctoral candidate Tania, his pregnant wife, have purchased a home next to Frank and Virginia, a D.C. couple with a prize-worthy English garden. But an impending barbeque for Pablo’s colleagues and a dispute over a long-standing fence line soon spiral into a border dispute, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class, and privilege.

The Arkansas Rep cast includes Rachel Harker (Virginia Butley), Kurt Zischke (Frank Butley), Aurora Leonard (Tania Del Valle) and Gabriel Pena (Pablo Del Valle).

Little Rock native Steve Broadnax III is the play’s director. The design and creative team includes Holly Payne, costume designer; Lynda J. Kwallek, properties designer; Mike Nichols, resident set designer/technical director; and Yael Lubetzky, lighting designer. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Colin JB.

Zacarías is one of the most produced playwrights in the nation. She is one of the inaugural Resident Playwrights at Arena Stage in Washington D.C, and is a core founder of the LATINX THEATRE COMMONS. She is founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award-winning company that teaches playwriting in public schools in Washington D.C.

Tickets start at $20. Discounts are available for full-time students, season subscribers, seniors and military personnel. For complete information, visit TheRep.org.

Final Few Days for CHICAGO at Arkansas Rep

Image may contain: indoorThere are just a few performances (each with only a few seats) left in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre production of Chicago. 

The musical—book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse; music by John Kander; lyrics by Fred Ebb—is based on a play of the same name by Chicago Tribune reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins. Ron Hutchins directs and choreographs Chicago which runs through March 24. Tickets are available online at TheRep.org.

The story, set in the mid-1920s Jazz Age, follows the murder trial of Roxie Hart and her slick-talking attorney, Billy Flynn. Roxie quickly becomes the most popular celebrity in Chicago, dethroning fellow inmate Velma Kelly. This legendary musical takes a tantalizing look at how the allure of fame remains a fundamental motivation for those willing to sacrifice their scruples for the spotlight.

Chicago earned five Tony Awards, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, seven Drama Desk Awards and two Olivier Awards (for the British production).

The Arkansas Rep cast includes Adriana Milbrath, Daisy Hobbs, Felicia Dinwiddie, Christopher Johnstone, Matt Allen, Z. Spiegel, Matty Rickard, Erik Joshua Clack, Nicholas Karl Brown, Brian Earles, Anthony Bryant, Frederick Webb Jr., Madeleine Corliss, Joi Hester, Rachel Perlman, Sydney Ippolito, Allison Wilson and Sarita Crawford.

The design and creative team includes Trish Clark, costume designer; Lynda J. Kwallek, properties designer; Mike Nichols, resident set designer/technical director; Michael Rice, musical director; and Marty Vreeland, lighting designer. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Colin JB. Phillip T. Perez is the assistant stage manager.

Tickets may be purchased online at TheRep.org, by phone at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting the Box Office at 601 Main Street in Little Rock.

Razzle Dazzle and All that Jazz as CHICAGO opens at Arkansas Rep

Image may contain: indoorArkansas Repertory Theatre opens its 2019 Season with the Tony Award-winning production, Chicago. 

The musical—book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse; music by John Kander; lyrics by Fred Ebb—is based on a play of the same name by Chicago Tribune reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins. Ron Hutchins will direct and choreograph Chicago which runs Feb. 20-March 24. Tickets are available online at TheRep.org.

The story, set in the mid-1920s Jazz Age, follows the murder trial of Roxie Hart and her slick-talking attorney, Billy Flynn. Roxie quickly becomes the most popular celebrity in Chicago, dethroning fellow inmate Velma Kelly. This legendary musical takes a tantalizing look at how the allure of fame remains a fundamental motivation for those willing to sacrifice their scruples for the spotlight.

Chicago earned five Tony Awards, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, seven Drama Desk Awards and two Olivier Awards (for the British production).

The Arkansas Rep cast includes Adriana Milbrath, Daisy Hobbs, Felicia Dinwiddie, Christopher Johnstone, Matt Allen, Z. Spiegel, Matty Rickard, Erik Joshua Clack, Nicholas Karl Brown, Brian Earles, Anthony Bryant, Frederick Webb Jr., Madeleine Corliss, Joi Hester, Rachel Perlman, Sydney Ippolito, Allison Wilson and Sarita Crawford.

The design and creative team includes Trish Clark, costume designer; Lynda J. Kwallek, properties designer; Mike Nichols, resident set designer/technical director; Michael Rice, musical director; and Marty Vreeland, lighting designer. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Colin JB. Phillip T. Perez is the assistant stage manager.

Chicago has generous support from Cindy and Chip Murphy.

Tickets start at $20. Discounts are available for full-time students, season subscribers, seniors and military personnel. Tickets may be purchased online at TheRep.org, by phone at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting the Box Office at 601 Main Street in Little Rock. Performances run Feb. 20-March 24. Low-priced previews run Feb. 20-21.