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Theatre: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
"Beyond this door's a factory
Begat from just a bean
Beyond this door
Surprise is in store
But it must be believed to be seen
"
Willy Wonka, greeting his guests in the Act One finale

This stage musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's iconic children's novel opened June 2013 on London's West End. David Greig wrote the book, with Marc Shaiman providing the music and co-writing the lyrics with Scott Wittman; Sam Mendes directed.

The story is well-known due to being Adaptation Overdosed, but as a brief refresher: When mysterious, reclusive candy maker Willy Wonka announces a contest to win a visit to his factory (which has not been accessible to the public in years), good, sweet, but poor Charlie Bucket is the last of five lucky finders of a Golden Ticket. The other four finders are each, in one way or another, a Spoiled Brat...but once they're in the factory, they'll each get just what they deserve...

The London production is currently taking bookings through May 2015. A Broadway transfer was intially announced for the 2014-15 season, but because this depends on Mendes's film commitments and other factors such as theatre availability, nothing is set in stone. The original London cast recording was released in October 2013.

See also the character sheet.


In addition to many of its source novel's tropes, this stage musical contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Here, Charlie is a budding inventor with a great imagination, as established in his two solos "Almost Nearly Perfect" and "A Letter from Charlie Bucket". He also is more curious and even, occasionally, mischevious than he is in the novel — see As You Know below. This trope is also behind The Reveal.
  • Adapted Out: Mrs. Salt.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations
  • All Take and No Give: Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas use this specifically as a justification for turning Augustus into fudge — the "Bavarian Beefcake" isn't mean to anyone (though he does call Willy Wonka "stupid" at one point), but his gross and greedy nature means that he will be far more useful to the world as confectionery.
    Oompa-Loompas: "You never tried to make a friend/But now we'll have some fun!"
    • And later:
    Willy Wonka: "For as a boy, he was so-so/But he makes tasty fudge!"
    • And, of course, Veruca and her dad provide a straight example of this relationship.
  • Altum Videtur and Gratuitous French: Mr. Wonka uses this during "Strike That, Reverse It", to intentionally confuse the visitors and/or because he's speaking too quickly to make sure everything he's saying makes sense. Consider his summary of the contracts the kids' guardians are signing. The phrases he's using sound legal and important, but those who know the English meanings of them would realize the "explanation" is mostly babble.
    The undersigned herein to fore
    Cite frippery or force majeure
    No property be touched or chewed or peddled...
    De facto habeus corpus laws
    For you a new grandfather's clause
    Sign there, there, there, there, there
    Thank God that's settled!
    • Also, in the cast album version of this song, Mr. Wonka directs the couplet "Sine non quon and entre nous/Your foot is on the other shoe" to Mrs. Teavee, who is wearing her shoes on the wrong feet. The first part is Latin for, roughly, "essential condition" and the second is French for "between us" or "confidentially", so only the latter makes sense in this context.
  • And the Adventure Continues: For Willy Wonka, at the end, in a Not His Sled twist.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Most of the squirrels in the Nut Room are normal-sized, but once Veruca earns their wrath, several much larger ones (with Oompa-Loompa riders) emerge to confront her!
  • Arc Symbol: An unfinished/incomplete book — a novel with pages missing, a thrown-away and water-damaged notebook that still has some good blank pages in it... and Mr. Wonka's idea notebook.
  • Arc Words: "Nothing" and "Something".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As in the original novel, the kids' crimes are: Eating too much, being spoilt, watching too much television...and chewing gum, in Violet's case. With this in mind, this version's Violet is also a Shameless Self-Promoter and Small Name, Big Ego, with her and her dad parlaying her non-talent into a lucrative entertainment career.
  • Ascended Extra: Charlie's parents and other grandparents (besides Joe) get more to do here than in other versions; in Act One the former get a duet to themselves and the latter are elevated to equal status with Grandpa Joe in delivering exposition. Mrs. Teavee is also transformed from a more-or-less homogenous parent role into a Stepford Smiler housewife and frequent comic relief (which makes sense, given that she logs the most stage time of the brats' parents).
  • As You Know: Done with a humorous twist. Unlike in the novel, Charlie's grandparents have recounted the saga of Willy Wonka and his factory to him more than once before the present action begins, but he loves hearing it so much that he convinces them that they haven't — after all, they are old and may be misremembering things when they claim they've told him before. Thus the audience gets to hear the story too.
  • Audience Participation: Adults sitting in the front row should note that if there isn't an unoccupied seat, and sometimes even if there is, one of them will get their lap briefly sat upon by Mr. Wonka at the top of Act Two.
  • Big Fun: Mrs. Gloop sees her son as this trope in "More of Him to Love", but perception and reality are two different things.
  • Big Red Button: Played for laughs. Upon boarding the Great Glass Elevator, Mr. Wonka instructs Charlie to push the button marked Don't Push, which is this show's equivalent of the "Up and Out" button of the book. And by this point, Charlie is Genre Savvy enough to know that "Something crazy's going to happen, isn't it?" (Mr. Wonka asks "How did you guess?" by way of reply.)
  • Black Comedy: With the naughtier kids' fates even more dire than in the novel's, the show frequently indulges in this.
  • Boastful Rap: "The Double Bubble Duchess" for Violet and her dad.
  • Born Unlucky: According to "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", Grandpa Joe became bedridden when times got so tough that he believed he was an example of this! "All my four-leaf clovers wilted/And my rabbit's foot had mange/The genie in the bottle turned up dead".
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Willy Wonka pulls off this trope twice.
    • In the (subsequently cut) "Creation Overture" sequence, he rattles off a list of additional ingredients one might add to chocolate: "...vanilla, coffee, toffee, kiwis, seaweed, liquorice, cinnamon, bicycles, babies, anything you like..."
    • As Violet chews her way through the first few courses of the experimental gum, which recreates the sort of Sunday dinner one might have enjoyed in 1979, Wonka envisions a homey scene: "Sunday afternoon — all the family in the parlour — pick of the pops on the radio...Granny dribbling in the corner."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A few times, most importantly in the final scene as Willy Wonka reveals to the audience that he is going to continue his adventures incognito: "And amongst you is as good a place to hide"... See also Medium Awareness below.
  • Break the Haughty: Veruca (as in the novel), but also Violet. The Villain Sucks Song about her points out that she wanted to be famous but rather than developing a true creative gift/skill to warrant the attention and admiration of others, she and her father just hyped up the fact that she can chew a piece of gum for a long time. Her resultant ego and sense of entitlement — combined with her gum obsession — leads her to the ignoble fate of becoming "famous now/For just turning blue".
  • Brick Joke: When the company takes their bows at the end, Willy Wonka turns out to be in one of the theatre's box seats. He wasn't kidding about hiding amongst the viewers.
  • Butterfly Of Transformation: During "Simply Second Nature", a song about Mr. Wonka's inborn need to create beautiful things, a sudden wave of his cane reveals a butterfly perched upon it. Given the running theme of humble things and people containing (or concealing) great beauty and possibility, the little creature likely isn't there just to look pretty...
  • Canon Foreigner: Mrs. Pratchett, though she's an equivalent character to the sweetshop owner in the novel and film adaptations, and the TV reporters Jerry and Cherry.
  • Central Theme: The transformative power of imagination.
  • City with No Name: The Buckets' home and Wonka's Factory exist in one; while other versions leave it ambiguous which country it's in, here it's heavily implied to be in England.
  • Collector of the Strange: Charlie is such a fan of Wonka Bars, even though he only gets one a year, that he collects the wrappers tossed aside by the patrons of Mrs. Pratchett's sweet stall.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Veruca's undoing is dramatized with the ballet spoof "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet", as she faces off with giant squirrels in the Nut Room. Mr. Wonka, watching from above with the others, calls out some advice:
    Willy Wonka: Stomach in, chest out.
    Mr. Salt: Wonka, for God's sake, help her!
    Willy Wonka: I can't, her posture is terrible.
  • Confetti Drop: Twice over. The first time, it's Black Comedy: Violet exploding results in a shower of purple glitter over the balconies. The second time, it's purely festive as confetti cannons are shot off to celebrate Charlie's triumph.
  • Cool Chair: In the Waiting Room of the factory (where Act Two begins), each of the brats sits in a chair that seems to have been designed specifically for them. Augustus Gloop's is Oktoberfest-styled and clearly designed to support his weight, Veruca Salt's resembles a princess-pink throne, Violet Beauregarde's is shiny silver, and Mike Teavee's could be taken from a roller coaster seat (and even has a joystick in one armrest). By comparison, Charlie Bucket's chair is a plain wooden one, which does reflect his humble background but turns out to be a touch of Foreshadowing as well ( it would be perfect for the spartan Imagining Room).
  • Costume Porn: Think Disney cornered the market on this trope in family-friendly musicals? Think again. It's vital to Act Two, with a variety of trick costumes, some of which cross over with puppetry, used to transform the full-sized adults in the ensemble into the Oompa-Loompas.
  • The Cracker: Mike Teavee proudly admits in "It's Teavee Time" that he hacked into Mr. Wonka's computers and managed to get a Golden Ticket without having to buy a Wonka Bar! (Note that he goes one better than his 2005 film counterpart, who managed to track down which bar would have it.) Nevertheless, his mom insists to Mr. Wonka that "those are just allegations."
  • Creation Sequence: Rather than a traditional overture, a short animated film detailing how chocolate is made (designed by Quentin Blake, the children's book writer/illustrator who frequently collaborated with Roald Dahl), formally known as "Creation Overture", served to ease the audience into the show. This was deleted when the first major cast turnover took place in 2014, for reasons unknown.
  • Creative Sterility: It's strongly implied that Charlie is the only one of the Golden Ticket finders who isn't affected by this. The other four kids spend their lives consuming things rather than creating them, and their parents seem to be similarly sterile, as they are unable to understand the concept of Doing It for the Art.
  • Crowd Song: All the Oompa-Loompas' numbers, of course. As well, "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" evolves into this as everyone celebrates Charlie's Golden Ticket find. Even Grandpa George and the two grandmas get out of bed and in on the act!
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: The four bratty kids really suffer for disobeying Mr. Wonka's warnings about where to go, what not to touch, etc. Charlie, however, is rewarded for reading and adding to the idea notebook...as it's a Secret Test to see how strong the boy's imagination is.
  • Cyber Punk Is Techno: Electronic music is used for Mike's lines in "It's Teavee Time" and the entirety of "Vidiots", the song that underscores his downfall.
  • Cyberspace: Mike Teavee manages to zap himself into this via the Chocolate Television transporter setup...and as Mr. Wonka grimly notes, "No one ever goes back to normal after they've been on television. It's a well-known fact."
  • Daddy's Girl: Both Veruca (though she is also a case of All Take and No Give, especially when she's mad) and Violet. These don't lead to good things, however.
  • Darker and Edgier: Subtly so, with regards to its Black Comedy. It isn't that much darker than the source novel, as it doesn't take much of a push to turn several characters' fates fatal. But compared to other adaptations and even some of the parody versions...
  • Death by Adaptation: All the bad kids are okay, albeit often-significantly changed, after their endgames in the book and the 2005 film version. The 1971 film kept their fates ambiguous. Here, apart from Mike (who gets a Fate Worse Than Death), things are rather nastier. In the case of Augustus, Mr. Wonka assures the group that he will be fine and rescued before his bones get in the toffee, but he doesn't sound very reassuring (he even comments "At least he died doing what he loved."). After Violet explodes, Mr. Beauregarde is sent to take her to the Juicing Room before she starts to ferment, which Mr. Wonka says will get her back to normal ("or, you know, near enough"). As for Veruca and Mr. Salt...well, they certainly head for the incinerator, so there's not much hope for them! (How would Mr. Wonka NOT have a lawsuit on his hands?! Read The Fine Print may be in play...he really rushes his visitors into signing those contracts!) All things considered, the following related tropes are invoked and Played for Laughs...
  • Demoted to Extra: Mr. Gloop, Mrs. Beauregarde, and Mr. Teavee.
  • Dispense With The Pleasantries / Hates Small Talk: Willy Wonka subscribes to both tropes; in "Strike That, Reverse It" he is far more concerned with getting the contracts signed and starting the tour than getting to know the members of the group:
    Mr. Salt: Wonka! Sir Robert Salt! Salt's Salty Nuts!
    Willy Wonka: (very quickly) Pleased to meet you, Bob. Peanut business treating you well?
    Mr. Salt: Well, actually...
    Willy Wonka: How interesting. We could talk all day except we won't. I'm joking of course. I'm fascinated by nuts. I used to be one myself.
  • Doing It for the Art: Discussed in-universe. In the Chocolate Room, only the waterfall has any practical use; the rest Mr. Wonka created simply because he wanted to, as explained in "Simply Second Nature".
  • Door Closes Ending: At the end of Act One, the winners head into the mysterious factory through a heavy metal door; Willy Wonka follows them through and — after Breaking the Fourth Wall to invite the audience in as well — slams it shut. And by the time that happens, the colorful lights have faded, leaving only a spotlight on that door in a sort of Iris Out effect so that when it's slammed shut, the whole stage goes dark.
  • Down in the Dumps: The Bucket house is located near one. Both Charlie and his dad stop there regularly to find potentially useful items, and the place is as much a symbol of possibility and creativity as it is of decay and waste.
  • Dumb Blonde: Both Augustus and Veruca.
  • Eating Contest: Augustus Gloop is noted as a "three times regional bratwurst eating champion".
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: The otherwise entirely new score incorporates one song from the 1971 film adaptation of the novel — "Pure Imagination" — to serve this function. (See Internal Homage below for other references.)
  • Enfant Terrible: Mike Teavee. As Mrs. Teavee explains in song, "[T]he authorities request/That little Mike not leave the house"; he's done everything from setting a cat on fire to stealing a German tank! His fixation on electronics is the only thing she can rely on to keep him out of trouble. Unfortunately, this method of keeping the peace makes his attention span shorter and attitude nastier. She's actually relieved when he shrinks, because he won't be able to cause any more trouble!
  • Everything's Better With Sparkles: Violet, ever the modern starlet, wears a sparkly purple velour jumpsuit at all times. This has a blackly comic payoff when she undergoes her transformation into a blueberry — she becomes the glitter ball at the center of a Gratuitous Disco Sequence, and when she explodes, a sparkly Confetti Drop ensues.
  • Exact Words: Besides the tour, the Golden Ticket finders are promised a lifetime supply of confectionery. One Everlasting Gobstopper — an Indestructible Edible — counts as this. Grandpa Joe gives a brief What the Hell, Hero? speech to Mr. Wonka and only Charlie, Standing Between the Enemies, is able to stop them from actually fighting over it.
  • Eye Motifs: There is a subtle one with regards to Charlie; see Rule of Three below. More importantly, Willy Wonka's songs and dialogue are rife with references to sight and eyes, tying into his gifts for imagining amazing things and finding ways to make them exist in the real world (one might say he's a visionary). This motif is, of course, most prominent in "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen"; at one point he drops a hint about the true nature of the tour with "For in the end there's quite a prize/If you can see with more than eyes..."
  • The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: The second song has the grandparents recount "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" (there's no Title Drop, mind).
  • Fixing The Game: How Mike gets his Golden Ticket — he hacks into Wonka's computers. Charlie finding his ticket was the work of the one running the game.
  • Flashback / Separate Scene Storytelling: When Charlie closes his eyes to visualize the Prince Pondicherry story in "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka", the sequence is presented to the audience in the style of an elaborate shadow puppet play (via a combination of actual puppetry and an animated sequence).
  • Follow Your Heart: "Pure Imagination".
  • Forbidden Zone: The Department of the Future has all the trappings of one from the outside, Played for Laughs. Located some 10,000 feet below the surface of the Earth, and accessible only by a boat ride past various failed projects of Mr. Wonka's (the man himself rarely visits because it's so far ahead of its time), the entrance door is surrounded by ominous signs discouraging entry. Grandpa Joe and Charlie are understandably nervous about this, but figure if they've been taken there, it can't be that bad...can it? Just to rub things in, as the two go through the door Mr. Wonka can be heard laughing an Evil Laugh! As it turns out, this is where the Television Chocolate setup is kept, and it does prove to be dangerous for Mike Teavee when he decides to test it on himself...
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit, of varying levels of obviousness.
    • In "Almost Nearly Perfect", Charlie has a fantasy of a happier existence when he comes across a book with missing pages at the dump: "Not a problem, I know how it ends/Good King Charlie in his kingdom/Lots of chocolate, lots of friends!"
    • The Prince Pondicherry anecdote the grandparents tell Charlie is tweaked. First, it's explained that he commissioned the chocolate palace to please a chocolate-craving bride, and second, it turns out that when it melted in the summer — as Mr. Wonka warned them that it would, but did they listen? — with them inside, they died. This presages the Deaths by Adaptation that several characters receive later, as well as the general old-school Fairy Tale attitude that unchecked and indulged greed, pride, etc. will be severely punished and unmourned in time.
    • Grandpa Joe is willing to give up the little change he's saved to make sure Charlie gets his annual birthday bar of chocolate because the boy deserves a present. In the late going, he demands Willy Wonka give Charlie a "proper" lifetime supply of sweets because he deserves it for being a good boy. Interestingly, as Charlie is still grateful for that chocolate bar even though it doesn't have the Golden Ticket everyone hoped that it would, he is willing to accept the Everlasting Gobstopper because it's "still an amazing present". This says a lot about both characters.
    • On the grounds of Veruca's Big Fancy House, the hedge that surrounds it includes squirrel topiaries, suggesting that she has a fondness for the little critters...
    • When Charlie uses a dropped pound note to buy a Wonka Bar from Mrs. Prachett (which he's never been able to do before), she sarcastically comments "You've finally come into your inheritance?" Well, that bar turns out to contain a Golden Ticket...
    • "Strike That, Reverse It" has several instances of this. Mr. Wonka, "complimenting" Augustus, says "I could eat you up. Except I'm on a diet." One trip through the pipes later, and the boy might just become fudge! (This plot development also puts a cruel twist on the "I Am" Song "More of Him to Love"!) He also tells Violet "Your confidence is quite intense/But just don't jump the gum." Almost as soon as a certain stick of experimental gum is within her reach, she grabs it and starts to chew...There's also a question asked in passing that turns out to have a Double Meaning and (cast album only) a mangled saying that, in hindsight, seems like a coded clue for the climax ( "Do as I do, not as I say").
  • For Science!: Mike Teavee's reasoning behind making himself a guinea pig for the human teleportation potential of the Television Chocolate setup: "You can't stop progress, old man! I'm doing it!"
  • Fur and Loathing: This Veruca Salt isn't Pretty in Mink as in other versions — her fur is "baby seal that's clubbed then tickled pink" according to her dad!
  • Genre Roulette: The songs weave through many different genres. Charlie and his family's songs are old-fashioned showtunes ala The Sherman Brothers. Each of the four brats is given a different style (or two in Violet's case). Augustus = polka, Veruca = ballet pastiche, Violet = first kid-friendly rap and later disco, and Mike = electronic music. As for Willy Wonka, his songs range from a jazzy Showstopper ("It Must Be Believed to Be Seen") to emotional ballads ("Simply Second Nature" and "Pure Imagination") to bouncy, patter-heavy English music hall-style numbers ("Strike That, Reverse It" and "A Little Me").
  • Genre Savvy: The Teavees are this by experience — until Mike's endgame, when his interest in the Television-Chocolate setup overrides any memory of what happened to the previous three brats.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Mr. Wonka's "entire Sunday roast dinner" gum. "Violet, whatever you do don't hit [blueberry] pudding."...
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: "Juicy!", which underscores Violet's undoing.
  • Greed: Not only are Augustus and Veruca greedy in their own ways, but two of the adults have avaricious streaks as well. Mr. Salt is interested in hiring the Oompa-Loompas because, being only half-sized compared to ordinary people, he could pay them half the wages. Mr. Beauregarde is an outright Slimeball in his marketing and merchandising of Violet, to the point that he is more concerned with how he can continue to make money off of her than her welfare when she is transformed into a blueberry.
  • Green Aesop: Part of "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet" plays this for laughs as the Oompa-Loompas condemn her wasteful greediness: She "Thought recycling was beneath her/She's the cause of global warming!" (As she's being hauled by the squirrels towards an incinerator!)
  • Heel-Face Turn: Of a sort. Mrs. Teavee is the only parent to come around to Mr. Wonka's way of thinking when she gets swept up in her son's exit song and sings and dances along. She is also completely satisfied when she finds Mike has shrunk, because he won't cause trouble any more.
  • Holding Hands: Friendship example, a subtle one, as Willy Wonka and Charlie hold hands during their trip in the Great Glass Elevator.
  • Homemade Inventions: The Buckets' television set (Mr. Bucket pedals a stationary bicycle to power it).
  • Horrible Hollywood: Violet and her dad embody the shallow and greedy sides of this trope: She's conceited, ditzy, and talentless, but thanks to her Slimeball father, she's become a wildly successful starlet complete with entourage.
  • Hurricane of Puns: There are puns sprinkled throughout this show, but they positively swirl around Violet. "The Double Bubble Duchess" has several puns based around gum and the word "pop" (as in bubbles and pop culture). Even more puns...well...pop up in "Juicy!", The Villain Sucks Song that underscores Violet's demise: "She's gonna hit the big time/When the big gum drops/She'll finally burst her bubble/On the Top of the Pops"...
  • I Am Great Song: Willy Wonka's first song (and the Act One finale) "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" has him addressing the Golden Ticket winners outside the factory, promising them that there are endless wonders within it — all of his invention. (That his world lives up to the hype makes the song an interesting contrast to Violet's Boastful Rap earlier.) Doubles as a Welcoming Song...and musically has the spectacle and stylistic flourishes commonly associated with a Villain Song, tipping the audience off to the darker side of his personality and world.
  • "I Am" Song: Quite a few!
    • "Almost Nearly Perfect" (Charlie Bucket)
    • "More of Him to Love" (The Gloop family)
    • "When Veruca Says" (Veruca Salt and her dad, the latter of whom handles most of the singing)
    • "The Double Bubble Duchess" (Violet and her dad)
    • "It's Teavee Time" (Mrs. Teavee and Mike [his part overlapping with an outright Villain Song] — the former is desperately trying to convince the press that Mike's just a little high-strung and their existence is mostly idyllic, but failing miserably)
    • The bridge of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" and the entirety of "Simply Second Nature" (Willy Wonka)
  • I Am What I Am: "Simply Second Nature" is this in song form for Mr. Wonka, who feels no shame in being an eccentric driven to create such novelties as the Chocolate Room simply to make the world a lovelier place.
    It's simply second nature
    To see what isn't there
    The mind is such a wonder to explore
    And though some nights I dread
    All the voices in my head
    I'd rather be this way than be a bore!
  • Ice-Cream Koan (How apt!): During "Strike That, Reverse It":
    Willy Wonka: Is something wrong?
    Charlie: It's nothing sir.
    Willy Wonka: Nothing is always something, Charlie, except when a person makes something out of nothing. Now which is it with you?
    Charlie: I don't know.
    Willy Wonka: Are you the sort of boy who makes something out of nothing?
    Charlie: No sir, it's just — you're not what I expected.
    Willy Wonka: That's a coincidence....I'm not what I expected either.
  • Idle Rich: The posh Lovebird Couple that accidentally winds up at the dump (they're headed for dinner and the opera). Mrs. Pratchett knows an easy mark when she sees one and overcharges them for a few Wonka Bars. A pound note falls from the man's pocket as they run off to hail a taxi, and it's this that Charlie uses to buy the Wonka Bar that turns out to contain the last Golden Ticket.
  • I Have Just One Thing to Say: The climactic scene hinges on this, as delivered by Willy Wonka to Charlie with regards to the boy's daydreaming habit.
  • In-Joke: Mrs. Pratchett, the grumpy sweet stall owner, is named after an unpleasant real life sweetshop owner whom a young Roald Dahl and his friends played a prank on, as recounted in his memoir Boy.
  • Instant Costume Change: When Willy Wonka first appears, he's dressed in a long black coat — then, with a single struck pose in full view of the audience, it vanishes, revealing a vibrantly colored ensemble. It's fast enough that one would think the whole thing turned inside-out.
  • Internal Homage: Several to the 1971 film adaptation.
    • When Mr. Wonka first appears for "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", he briefly feigns being far more feeble than he actually is — referencing Gene Wilder's famous entrance as Wonka. (Instead of a somersault, he performs an Instant Costume Change.) As in that version, this immediately establishes that he is The Trickster.
    • The 1971 Wonka's tendency to mix up his words, followed by the phrase "Strike that, reverse it", is retained here (as it was in the novel's sequel, making it Ret Canon) to the point that "Strike That, Reverse It" is the title of the Act Two opening number. Since this Wonka can be a Motor Mouth when he wants to be, such mixups are common for him. Also, during the number he makes the parents sign an elaborate contract...
    • The signature song from the film, "Pure Imagination", is The Eleven O'Clock Number. Also counts as a Bootstrapped Theme.
    • There is also at least one reference to the 2005 film, as Augustus Gloop finds his Golden Ticket the same way in both versions: Noticing that a Wonka bar he's eating tastes odd, he realizes it's because he's chewed off a corner of the ticket with his first bite!
  • Is It Something You Eat?: Big Eater Augustus Gloop asks this when they enter the Chocolate Room — and he wants to eat all of it! Of course, since this is Willy Wonka's work, he's right!
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: In the lonesome cellars of the factory are various projects of Mr. Wonka's that fall under this trope: multi-colored "Easter pigs to make Easter bacon...to go with Easter eggs? Not one of my better ideas...", life-sized and crying jelly babies in cribs, and even piles of Square Sweets That Look Round.
  • "I Want" Song: "A Letter from Charlie Bucket" establishes Charlie's generous nature in that what he wants is for some of his ideas for new treats to be realized by Willy Wonka...and all of them are intended to improve the lives of Charlie's family, if only by making them feel happy. At the end, he admits there are but two things he wants — for Mr. Wonka to deliver the finished inventions himself so that they can all meet him, "And well, I'd like one Wonka bar/That I would share with you."
  • Kent Brockman News: Jerry gets annoyed when his commentary on the Golden Ticket contest frenzy, which has him coming up with cute nicknames for it ("A-choc-alypse" and "Chocageddon!"), is interrupted by Cherry's news of the fourth ticket being found.
  • Koan: Two of Willy Wonka's songs are effectively centered on koans — "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" and "A Little Me" ("It's all the things you aren't/That make you what you are").
  • Lampshade Hanging
    • When Charlie introduces himself to Willy Wonka, he replies "Aren't you the boy who got his ticket at the very last moment? Don't leave it so late next time."
    • When the Oompa Loompas begin to sing "Vidiots" Mrs. Teavee remarks, "The little people are singing again. That's never a good sign."
    • In the Imagining Room, as Mr. Wonka abruptly ends the tour, he gently tweaks the infamously over-the-top nature of the bad kids' fates: "True, we lost a few children along the way...but we all learned something and that's the important thing!"
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Willy Wonka does this when greeting Augustus: "Goodness, you look so faaaa...ntastically healthy."
  • Leitmotif: Though "A Little Me" is the last production number in Act Two and also heavily features in the entr'acte, a chiming arrangement of its melody is used as this in the junkyard scenes in Act One. It is also Foreshadowing, because careful attention reveals that it's specifically associated with the tramp. Now, who conducts the entr'acte and sings "A Little Me"?...
  • Mad Artist / Mad Scientist: Willy Wonka is a relatively benign merging of these tropes in this version; usually he is just the second. His crazy creations all stem from a desire to create beautiful, wonderful things — he just happens to be using sweets as his medium. He's rather hurt when the adults on the tour keep asking him what the Chocolate Room is actually for.
  • Make a Wish
    • Trying to brighten Charlie's mood after they learn that the fourth Golden Ticket has been found, his dad suggests they look for a shooting star in the sky to wish upon. Charlie doesn't want a wish to be wasted on him, but later, when Dad actually sees a shooting star, he says, "Well Charlie, if you won't make a wish, then I will..." The next day, Charlie finds the final Golden Ticket. Coincidence? Yes. It was being saved for him.
    • The trope name is also dropped via Internal Homage in the famous spoken word introduction to "Pure Imagination": "Hold your breath...make a wish...count to three..." as Willy Wonka reveals the Great Glass Elevator to Charlie.
  • Meaningful Echo
    • The phrase "just a bean": In the Opening Narration, it was used to point up the humble nature of a cacao bean and marvel over how something as lovely as a cacao tree, and from there chocolate, can come from it. At the end of Act One, as "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" kicks into high gear, Mr. Wonka sings "Beyond this door's a factory/Begat from just a bean". (As a bonus, it's at this point that the viewer realized that he was the narrator at the start.)
    • In the opening lines of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" (when he is pretending to be feeble and dreading walking down a small flight of steps), Mr. Wonka paraphrases a famous Tao Te Ching quote with "A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step..." In the cast album version of Act Two's second-to-last song "A Little Me", he assures Charlie that the latter has what it takes to become his successor with "And any journey worth the schlep/Must begin with one small step". Note that both songs take place in the same setting (outside the factory's main entrance).
    • The phrase "making something out of nothing" first appears in "Strike That, Reverse It". In the climactic scene, it turns up again and a Double Meaning — its true meaning — is revealed.
    • For that matter, after that song, the phrase "Strike that, reverse it" turns up two more times, but in rather more touching contexts. The first time, in "Simply Second Nature", Mr. Wonka needs to correct himself when he says — with regards to his imagination — "It's no blessing, it's a curse!/Wait, no, strike that and reverse/I wouldn't want it any other way". The second time, it's used to explain that Charlie did the right thing by disobeying him and looking at the idea notebook.
    • Mr. Wonka calls up Charlie and Grandpa Joe to the Imagining Room with "Come on, Buckets — no time to dally when wonders await!" In the final scene, Charlie says this as he and his family enter the factory to begin their new lives.
  • Medium Awareness: Willy Wonka demonstrates this when he "conducts" the Act Two entr'acte.
  • The Mel Brooks Number: The four Oompa-Loompa songs underscoring the naughty kids' demises.
  • Midnight Snack: Referenced — Mrs. Gloop thinks that the Chocolate Room is "a little cupboard of treats for a midnight feast."
  • Million to One Chance: When his annual birthday chocolate bar — which his family is only able to get because Grandpa Joe sacrifices what little money he's stashed away for it — doesn't yield a Golden Ticket, it would seem that Charlie's hopes are dashed. Then he comes into some dropped money and buys a single bar from the sweet stall that turns out to have the last ticket in it. For the whole Bucket family, this incredible turn of events is a sign of hope for their future fortunes. Only this trope is subverted. Charlie's "luck" was engineered by Willy Wonka himself.
  • Motor Mouth: As in the novel and 1971 film, Violet — to the point that her chewing habit originated with her mom's efforts to find a way to get her to stop talking! But even she can't compare to this Willy Wonka's speedy way with words.
  • Mr. Imagination: Charlie Bucket is more grounded an example of the trope than most — he may be prone to daydreaming, but he uses his imagination to make the best of his unfortunate lot in life, as demonstrated in "Almost Nearly Perfect". Willy Wonka's first song, "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", establishes that his success had similar origins...
  • My Beloved Smother: In contrast to Daddy's Girl Veruca and Violet, Augustus Gloop is spoiled and overfed by his overbearing, food-obsessed mother.
  • Mysterious Mist / Ominous Fog: The subterranean river to The Department of the Future has mist swirling about its surface. Given the general Forbidden Zone feel to the room from the outside, it carries the connoations of the latter trope as well.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Several of the parents of the bratty kids get first names (and one a title as well): Sir Robert Salt, Eugene Beauregarde, and Doris and Norman Teavee.
  • New Media Are Evil: "Vidiots", the Oompa-Loompa song underscoring Mike Teavee's undoing, is a cheeky, exaggerated take on this trope with regards to the perils of using electronic media to babysit unruly kids:
    And then like some barbaric Huns
    Our toddlers all are packing guns
    Now children curse and smoke cigars
    Our nurseries now have prison bars
    (later) Each day they text on their new toy
    Their thoughts and their location
    But OMG will this destroy
    The art of conversation?
  • Noisy Robots / Tin Can Robot: The Everlasting Gobstopper and Great Gum Machines are enormous examples of these tropes in this telling; while they only "speak" in groans and squawks, Mr. Wonka understands them as well as they understand his English.
  • Noodle Incident: During "Vidiots", Willy Wonka remarks "It's years since I've been to a rave!" As everyone recovers afterward, he needs one of the Oompa-Loompas to straighten out his back — "Now I remember why I gave up raving..."
  • Not His Sled: Aside from the twists on the brats' fates, the ending is mostly the same as the novel's, but Charlie becomes a Grade School CEO immediately, while Willy Wonka literally vanishes to parts unknown and unconceived...
  • Oktoberfest and Yodel Land: The Gloop family embodies these tropes; they're specifically stated to be Bavarian.
  • Older than They Look: Willy Wonka looks middle-aged (role originator Douglas Hodge was in his mid-50s) but tells Charlie "I'm a lot older than you think" near the end. This is supported by both the tales told by the grandparents about the Serious Business surrounding him in his heyday (see below) and Jerry mentioning that it's been "over forty years" since he became a recluse.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: A humorous version appears in the Department of the Future; once Mike zaps himself into Cyberspace he can jump from one to another of five screens at will (Mr. Wonka: "I think it's called channel hopping.").
  • One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure: Both Charlie and his dad keep an eye out for discarded items that they can find use for, be it a notebook that still has blank pages or a broken umbrella that can be fixed up. Charlie even sings in "Almost Nearly Perfect" that "Your trash is my treasure/Your 'Goodbye' is my 'How d'ja do.'"
  • Only Sane Man: In "Juicy!", no one is paying attention to the danger Violet is in as she turns into a blueberry. Even Mr. Beauregarde is into the the number and thinking of ways that they can make money off of her state ("Hello, Fruit Monthly...?")! Mr. Salt is the only one who is actually shocked by what's happening. Mrs. Teavee also tends to act as this throughout the tour, pointing out (after a long, nonsensical run between rooms) that the Inventing and Nut Rooms are right next to each other, and is one of the few to express terror over the other families' fates.
  • Opening Narration: "Creation Overture" featured this.
  • Parental Bonus and/or Shout-Out: In the tradition of previous adaptations, there are more than a few jokes and references that apply to one or both tropes. Among them:
    • Grandma Georgina is excited to learn that the book with missing pages that Charlie found at the dump is Lady Chatterley's Lover.
    • "Strike That, Reverse It" has the couplet "It doesn't take a Sigmund Freud/To see I'm charmed and overjoyed". In the cast album version of the song, this is carried further when Mr. Wonka notes that the children are each "A mirror of your parent's id".
    • In "Juicy!", it's noted "But you had better hurry/If you wanna grab her ear/Cause in 15 minutes/She is bound to disappear".
    • "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet" is effectively a spoof of the climax of the first act of The Nutcracker with reversed sympathies — the girl is the villainess and the giant rodents are the heroes!
  • Parental Love Song: "If Your Mother Were Here" is a parents-to-child example that also affirms Mr. and Mrs. Bucket's love for each other (each thinks the other could do a better job of cheering Charlie up).
  • Patter Song: "Strike That, Reverse It" for Willy Wonka. The factory guests struggle to keep up with him, especially when he summarizes the contracts the kids' guardians must sign, as he is in a hurry to begin the actual tour.
  • Pep Talk Song: "A Little Me" is this sung by Willy Wonka to Charlie (see You Are Better Than You Think You Are below).
  • Phony Newscast: The I Am Songs for the first four Golden Ticket finders are presented in this manner as Cherry interviews the winners. (The sequences are staged in a giant television set.)
  • Pink Means Feminine: Ballet-loving Veruca Salt is always dressed in a pretty pink dance outfit complete with tutu and a matching "tickled pink" baby seal wrap. (Fittingly, her demise features a ballet-inspired The Villain Sucks Song.) She even arrives at the factory in a pink limo!
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: While set in The Present Day, Violet's dad has a 1970s funk/disco vibe and look, Mrs. Teavee seems to have stepped out of a turn-of-The Sixties sitcom even as her son is playing video games and cracking corporate passwords, and so forth. Once the characters are in the factory itself, all bets are off where aesthetics are concerned.
  • Punny Name: Cherry Sunday, the reporter who interviews each of the Golden Ticket finders. Also counts as Edible Theme Naming.
  • Pushover Parents: Mr. Salt and Mrs. Teavee both qualify. The former loves his daughter too much to deny her anything, and the latter only makes token attempts to discipline her son (partially out of fear), though she's proud to say that he only smokes two packs of cigarettes a day now.
  • Quick Nip: During "Strike That, Reverse It", as Mike runs amok among the other guests, the frazzled Mrs. Teavee pulls a hip flask from her purse to attempt this. When Mr. Wonka informs her that there's to be no alcohol on the tour, she claims it's just lemonade. He takes a swig of it and expresses his doubts about that; she clarifies that it's "homemade". After another swig, he hands the flask back with the line "You must give me the recipe!"
  • The Reveal / Walking Spoiler: It turns out that the tramp at the dump is Willy Wonka in disguise. (The character sheet has a folder for the Walking Spoiler which covers all the additional tropes invoked.)
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The giant squirrels in the Nut Room.
  • Roll Out The Red Carpet: The day of the much-vaunted tour sees a red carpet outside the about-to-open factory gates and journalists and photographers out in force.
  • Rule of Three
    • The appearances of the Arc Symbol (see above), and in a related issue, the tramp.
    • Twice in Act One, Charlie is asked to close his eyes — first by Grandpa Joe as he's telling the Prince Pondicherry story, second by his parents as they try to comfort him. In both cases, doing so helps the boy to better imagine wondrous things. The twist the third time around? During "Pure Imagination", as the Great Glass Elevator drifts in a starlit sky, Willy Wonka tells him "Time to open your eyes and take a look around."
  • Running Gag
    • Mrs. Pratchett always calls attention to the downside of chocolate when hawking her wares. "Gives you the trots and lots of spots!" (There's Our Product Sucks, and then there's this!)
    • Grandpa Joe has a habit of telling silly tall tales. When he hauls himself out of bed upon learning of Charlie's Golden Ticket find, he assures his bedmates that he'll be fine: "I could run a four-minute mile. Just like I did in the '48 Olympics."
  • Scenery Porn: By the ton. Act One alone has an ever-moonlit junkyard, the ramshackle Bucket residence, and colorful TV sets for the first four Golden Ticket finders (which achingly contrast with Charlie's gray town). Then it's into the Amazing Technicolor World of the factory for Act Two...
  • Secret Test: As ever, the whole tour is a way to find Mr. Wonka's successor. There's a sub-test unique to this adaptation, though: he leaves Charlie alone in a room with a precious idea notebook, having ordered him not to look at it. Charlie cannot resist doing so, and even adds to it...proving to Mr. Wonka that he is a kindred creative spirit, and thus a perfect heir.
  • Serious Business: Much of "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" is devoted to marvelling over just what serious business his impossibly delicious sweets are: "Even Gandhi got himself into a brawl" over them, "In Brazil they gave up coffee/For a taste of Wonka toffee", and for a time (before it was closed to outsiders) Wonka's factory was an alternate residence for the Pope! Cherry Sunday is specifically noted as a television network's "chief confectionery correspondent"; clearly, this is a world that takes its chocolate very seriously, so can one be surprised that Willy Wonka himself has Skewed Priorities with regards to his sweets versus the safety of his tour group?
  • Setting Off Song: "Strike That, Reverse It" — which doubles as a Patter Song (see above) because Mr. Wonka is in such a hurry to begin the tour!
  • Setting Update: To The New Tens, most obviously in how Violet and Mike are handled. As mentioned above, however, Purely Aesthetic Era also applies.
  • Sidekick Song: "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" becomes a Crowd Song, but most of it is handled by Older Sidekick Grandpa Joe (in fact, he's the one who demands the other bedridden grandparents follow his lead and get out of bed to join in). Charlie gets a verse and chorus to himself, but it's telling that he lets Grandpa Joe lead everyone in the final stretch!
  • Sigil Spam: A large, stylized W crowns the topmost tower of the factory exterior, and it shows up all over the place inside as well, including on the Oompa-Loompas' boiler suits. (More subtly, Mr. Wonka's tie tack is a little gold W.)
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Type 3; it's a Pragmatic Adaptation that streamlines and updates the story for the stage, but the major plot points and characters remain much the same. The Adaptation Expansion is in service of fleshing out the characters (particularly Charlie and Willy Wonka) and giving the story a stronger climax and a distinct Central Theme, as tends to be the case in adaptations of this book. Many incidents and conversations from the book that have been cut are referred to in passing and/or repurposed, as well (Lickable Wallpaper, Square Sweets That Look Round, Fizzy Lifting Drinks, etc.), bespeaking a very close reading of the source material.
  • So Proud of You: "A Little Me" is this in addition to a Pep Talk Song as Mr. Wonka, the Oompa-Loompas, and Charlie's family celebrate Charlie becoming the heir to the factory — and the wonderful future he has ahead of him. They all know he has a creative spirit, and now he can bring his ideas to fruition.
  • Spectacle: The official budget was said to be 10 million pounds (close to $17 million in U.S. dollars), and boy does it show.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Since you can't be sure about those Oompa-Loompas, this only definitively shows up in "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" and "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen". The former is a Crowd Song, while the latter is a solo for Wonka yet the entire crowd outside the factory is serving as backup dancers by the end.
  • Stealth Insult: During "Strike That, Reverse It", Willy Wonka has the following to say about members of the tour group:
    • "To lead our group, Augustus Gloop!/For who could lose sight of 'im?"
    • Regarding Violet Beauregarde: "She's certainly something, Mr. Beauregarde. I'm just not sure what."
  • Stepford Smiler: Mrs. Teavee is a Type A version (inwardly depressed), as revealed in "It's Teavee Time".
    Medication sets us free
    One for him and two for me
    And at six I pour a shot of "Mommy Water"
  • Storybook Opening: The "Creation Overture" animation started this way (the book is a large purple one with a golden W emblazoned on its cover — see Sigil Spam above), with its narrator intoning "This is a story about the most important thing in the world: Chocolate."
  • Stunned Silence: Grandpa Joe is amazed into this when Charlie shows him the Golden Ticket, unable to speak for several seconds at least.
  • Suburbia: The Teavees live here — when Cherry reports from the press conference at their house, she specifically says "Jerry, I'm in suburbia."
  • They Just Dont Get It: The adults' inability to understand Mr. Wonka's simple explanation for the existence of the mostly "useless" Chocolate Room ("It's my creation.") causes him to sadly say "You really don't see, do you?", leading into "Simply Second Nature", which goes into detail about his motivation.
  • Those Two Guys: Jerry and Cherry, the reporters in Act One. (Their actors also double as the Lovebird Couple near the end of the act.)
  • Trickster Mentor: Willy Wonka, to a level that rivals, if not surpasses, his 1971 counterpart. He loves speaking in riddles and confusing the tour group, the Laser-Guided Karma in store for the disobedient is more dangerous than ever, and the final Secret Test actually requires an order of his to be disobeyed. Possibly justified — "Simply Second Nature" has him admitting to Hearing Voices, suggesting that he may be mentally off-kilter.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The finale is a reprise of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" as Willy Wonka, having found a worthy heir, bids adieu to his factory and sets off.
  • Unconfessed Unemployment: In this version Mr. Bucket loses his toothpaste factory job a week before the action starts. While his wife knows about this, they mutually keep it a secret from Charlie and the grandparents — he leaves and returns to the shack at the same times he always did, but is looking for work in the interim. They are finally forced to reveal the truth when the Golden Ticket contest is announced and must break the news to Charlie that they won't be able to afford his usual birthday bar of chocolate this year (whereupon Grandpa Joe decides to give up what little change he's saved to make sure he gets it).
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: While Willy Wonka gives token warnings to the children, the factory and its workers tend to take out those messing with their productivity! He's not kidding when he sings "Beyond this waltz/Is a world without faults". Any faults are permanently eliminated!
  • The Villain Sucks Song: The Oompa-Loompas all make fun of the kids, calling Augustus fat, Violet talentless, and Veruca a cow. They're straighter examples than the songs in the book - these are all specifically about the nasty children, and are full of insults.
  • Weird Moon: An enormous full moon looms over the dump and the nearby Bucket residence in the opening stretch...with the distant but similarly gigantic Wonka Factory in silhouette before it. This image is echoed from a different perspective in the final stretch — a large window in the Imagining Room (the topmost room of the factory) looks down upon the town, similarly silhouetted by the full moon.
  • Welcoming Song: "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen".
  • The Wonka: This is an adaptation of the story that provides the Trope Namer. This particular Willy Wonka is as much of a Large Ham, Deadpan Snarker, and Trickster Mentor as any other version of the character, and even more blithely indifferent to the fates of the bad kids — and given their fates here...But he's also more self-aware of his eccentricity, as "Simply Second Nature" reveals, and can be calm and gentle if the moment warrants.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: "Pure Imagination" plays out this way — via the Great Glass Elevator, Willy Wonka takes Charlie on a journey up into the starry night sky to get a proper perspective on both the factory the boy's won and the amazing possibilities open to those with a well-honed imagination and sense of wonder.
  • World of Ham: Charlie and his parents are the only characters who don't ham it up at some point. But as his entrance at the end of Act One decisively proves, Willy Wonka is the biggest ham of all.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Mr. Salt claims that his workers unwrapped Wonka Bars "For forty days and forty nights" to find Veruca a ticket in "When Veruca Says", but the contest was only announced the day before hers was found. Of course, he might be exaggerating — or it just felt that way to him, what with Veruca's tantrums and all. Anyway, in real life this mistake might owe to different writers for the book and lyrics.
  • The X of Y: "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" and, later, The Department of the Future.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In the final stretch, Charlie worries that he can't take over the factory from Willy Wonka because he has no experience in being a chocolatier. Mr. Wonka explains in the song "A Little Me" that Charlie may be inexperienced in that now, but that means he's capable of learning and becoming a unique talent in the process; moreover, he's "not just any careless child", but a bright, imaginative, kind, unspoiled, and disciplined one, "So aren't you glad upon review/That Charlie Bucket I chose you!"
  • Your Favorite: Charlie's favorite variety of Wonka Bar is the Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight, and his family makes sure that's what he gets for his birthday. Mr. Wonka also made sure that the last Golden Ticket was inside one so Charlie would find it.


"Do come in."

CatsTheatrical ProductionsThe Cherry Orchard
CatsThe MusicalWilly Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Bring It OnThe New TensMatilda

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