BRASHER FALLS - If you plan on seeing Willy Wonka at St. Lawrence Central School this weekend, now would be a good time to get your tickets.
As of early this week, about three-quarters of the tickets were sold.
Cast members say theyre looking forward to the chocolate-scented fog and flying characters as much as the audience thats gobbling up the tickets for the Friday and Saturday evening shows.
Theres a lot of special effects compared to other productions, from explosions to people flying, said senior Shawn Patrick, who plays the role of Mr. Bucket.
The production is about Willy Wonka, owner of a magical and mysterious chocolate factory, who invites the audience to join him in a world of pure imagination. Even though he excels at making candy, he is ready to retire and find some bright spark to continue his candy confectioning.
He decides to hold a contest, in which five lucky people who find Golden Tickets inside Wonka bars win a tour of the chocolate factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Mr. Patrick had a lead role in last years Pirates of Penzance production, and this year hes working with a cast that includes elementary students who play squirrels in one scene.
It takes a lot of patience. Theyve never done it before, he said.
Rehearsals started in January, and Mr. Patrick said hes been juggling that along with his school work and other activities.
Its been a lot. Ive had to cut back on my work hours, he said.
Junior Kelsey Newtown portrays Charlie Bucket in this production, her fifth one that started out when she appeared in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
I love it. The people are great. We spend hours with each other, more than any sports team, she said.
Charlie Bucket is the protagonist, a kind-hearted, poor boy who lives with his mother, father and four bedridden grandparents. Despite being a stereotypical hero, he is a very kind boy. The role required a student with an unchanged voice.
They didnt have boys with an unchanged voice, so it had to be a girl, Ms. Newtown said.
She said a familiarity with the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has made staging their spring production that much easier.
The cast came like almost prepared before rehearsals started, and we were able to refine the roles, she said.
Like Mr. Patrick, Ms. Newtown said its a juggling act to perform in the production and still be involved in other activities. As a member of the schools softball team, she has been practicing her pitching in the gymnasium after rehearsals are over.
I sleep during study hall, she said.
Mrs. Gloop, played by senior Molly Burnett, is Augustus Gloops mother who has overindulged her son with food and who accompanies him on the tour of the factory.
Shes the mother of one of the other children that goes into the factory. Augustus is really fat and likes to eat a lot, Ms. Burnett said.
She said this years cast is one of the biggest since she started performing four years ago.
There are a lot of new kids. It can be really fun because you get to work with them and get a fresh perspective. You can also be a mentor and share tips, she said.
While she has had bigger roles in past productions, Ms. Burnett said shes comfortable with her role in Willy Wonka because shes doing double duty as an actor and costume manager.
The character leaves pretty early in the second act, allowing her to switch to her costume manager role.
Ms. Burnett said that, besides rehearsing her role, she has also been making the costumes at home and school.
This was relatively easy, she said of the costuming. I was the assistant manager last year and had to sew more.
Jessica McCarthy, a junior, plays Phineous Trout, a reporter who announces the winners of the Golden Ticket contest throughout the show.
I interview every child who wins a Golden Ticket, she said.
Ms. McCarthy, who has been in two previous productions, describes her role as medium, with a lot of dialogue.
I like to sing. Everybody told me it was a lot of fun, she said.
Its the first year Ive been a lead. I really enjoy being around everybody. I like this role, Ms. McCarthy said, noting she interacts in the second act with the Oompa Loompas, workers in Willy Wonkas factory.
Theyre factory workers from a bizarre place we dont even know, she said.
Other cast members include Joel Truax as Willy Wonka, Cheyenne Padgett as the Candy Man, Heather Nicholson as Mrs. Bucket, Danielle Furnace as Grandma Josephine, Maegan Clark as Grandma Georgina, Damien Razis as Grandpa George, Trever Roach as Grandpa Joe, Riley Barton as Augustus Gloop, Madee Derouchie as Veruca Salt, Johnny Clark as Mr. Salt, Taylor Capozzi as Violet Beauregarde, Sierra Sicard as Mrs. Beauregarde, Cornelius Guerard as Mike Teavee and Jordan Smith as Mr. Teavee.
The box office is open from 2:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Pre-sale tickets are $7 for students and seniors and $9 for adults. Tickets at the door are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. Anyone interested in tickets can also call the school at 389-5131.
Doors open at 7:10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and the curtain rises at 7:30 p.m.