Begat from just a bean!
Beyond this door,
Surprise is in store,
But it must be believed to be seen."
This stage musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's iconic children's novel ran June 2013-January 2017 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 original staging.
This musical has Internal Homages to the novel's two film incarnations, but is no Screen-to-Stage Adaptation — even more than those versions it revels in the novel's Black Comedy while throwing in more than a few twists on the familiar plot and characters.
A New York City production ran from April 2017-January 2018 (305 regular performances) at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, with Jack O'Brien taking over from Mendes, who stayed on as a producer. The show was heavily Retooled, in part to bring it more in line with the 1971 film, and tropes specific to this version have their own folder below. This production became (with further retooling) the standard version of the show in North America and other countries, but in 2022 a U.K. tour closer to the West End version launched.
See also the character sheet.
In addition to many of its source novel's tropes, the original London production contains examples of:
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: Charlie becomes a Grade-School C.E.O. immediately upon winning the factory, and Willy Wonka leaves the story's world for that of the audience to continue his work, rather than completely retire.
- Adaptational Intelligence: Played straight with Charlie (now a budding inventor) and Mike (now The Cracker), though Mike's intelligence is undercut by Creative Sterility.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Mike Teavee is a destructive juvenile delinquent in this version, with his addiction to electronics one of the only things that can relatively keep him in line. Downplayed in the Broadway version thanks to "It's Teavee Time" being cut.
- Downplayed with Willy Wonka, who is now Ambiguously Evil thanks to his more dismissive attitudes towards his guests and their fates (though in the cases of Charlie and Grandpa Joe this is mostly an act).
- Adaptation Expansion: Charlie is a budding, curious, even mischevious inventor with a great imagination, as established in his solos "Almost Nearly Perfect" and "A Letter from Charlie Bucket". See also The Reveal.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The Backstory of the Oompa-Loompas and how they came to be Mr. Wonka's workforce turned up in both of the novel's film adaptations, but is reduced to a Cryptic Background Reference here, with Mr. Wonka only saying that they are "an ancient, long-lost tribe from Loompaland". This may have been for pacing reasons and/or to downplay its notorious Happiness in Slavery implications. Averted in the Broadway retool, in which the backstory is the focus of an entire song ("When Willy Met Oompa").
- Adapted Out: Mrs. Salt; the only reference to her is an easy-to-miss lyric in "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet" that was eliminated in the Broadway version.
- An Aesop: Be appreciative of those who cultivate their creativity and share it. Charlie is as puzzled by Mr. Wonka's eccentricity as anyone, but he's the only one of the kids who treats him with kindness and respect, in part because he understands just how wonderful his creations and world really are. This turns out to mean a great deal to Mr. Wonka.
- All Musicals Are Adaptations
- All Take and No Give: Mr. 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!"
Willy Wonka: "For as a boy, he was so-so/But he makes tasty fudge!"
- And later:
- And, of course, Veruca and her dad provide a straight example of this relationship.
- Amazing Technicolor World: The factory. The corridors are utilitarian, but the rooms...
- Ambiguously Evil: Willy Wonka. "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" even sounds like a Villain Song.
- And Starring: The actor who plays Grandpa Joe gets the And credit after the other adult principals are listed, if his credit isn't right behind Willy Wonka's. Grandpa Joe is the secondary adult lead, after all, and the role's originator, Nigel Planer, was even the most recognizable name in the cast (a name in British comedy since The Young Ones in The '80s, he's since had several musical roles, such as the Wizard in the original London cast of Wicked).
- 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) appear!
- Arc Symbol: An unfinished/incomplete book — a novel with pages missing, a thrown-away and water-damaged notebook that still has good blank pages... and Mr. Wonka's idea notebook.
- Arc Words: Nothing and something.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the novel, the kids' crimes are eating too much, being spoilt, watching too much television...and chewing gum. So this Violet is also a Shameless Self-Promoter / 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; the former get a Parental Love Song and the latter enjoy 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.
- As You Know: 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, but he loves it so much that he convinces them that they haven't — after all, they are old and may be misremembering things. Thus the audience hears the story too.
- Audience Participation: At the top of Act Two, after conducting the entr'acte, Mr. Wonka steps into the front row of the audience, briefly bantering with those seated there (and in role originator Douglas Hodge's case even taking a seat in someone's lap) as he waits for the tour group to assemble on stage.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: After Augustus goes up the pipe, the tour group overhears Mr. Wonka calling the Fudge Room to instruct an Oompa-Loompa to get Augustus out of the vat. "Otherwise he's likely to be caramelized and that would be terrible...just think of it, bones in my toffee!"
- Big Fun: Mrs. Gloop sees her son as this in "More of Him to Love", but perception and reality...
- Big Red Button: Played for laughs. Upon boarding the Great Glass Elevator, Mr. Wonka instructs Charlie to push the button marked Don't Push.Charlie: Something crazy's going to happen, isn't it?Wonka: How did you guess?
- Bilingual Bonus: 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. In his summary of the contracts, the phrases he's using sound legal and important, but those who know their English meanings would realize it's all 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!
- On the cast album, Mr. Wonka directs the couplet "Sine non quon and entre nous/Your foot is on the other shoe" to Mrs. Teavee (she's wearing her shoes on the wrong feet). The first part is Latin for, roughly, "essential condition" and the second is French for "between us"/"confidentially".
- Bittersweet Ending: This adaptation goes for a slightly sadder tone than usual. While Charlie has earned the factory and has given a better life to his family, the other children have possibly died in horrific ways. Finally, Mr. Wonka leaves the world of the story for the real world and it's heavily implied that he and Charlie will never meet again.
- Boastful Rap: "The Double Bubble Duchess" for Violet and her dad.
- Bowdlerise: The Running Gag involving grouchy sweet stall owner Mrs. Pratchett (see below) originally had her commenting "Chocolate! Chocolate! Gives you diabetes and heart disease!" When an audience member called out this line as offensive to type 1 diabetics (whose conditions are not affected by diet), it was changed to "Chocolate! Chocolate! Not one of your five a day!"
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Willy Wonka demands "No dillying, no dallying...no shillying, no shallying...and certainly no silly dallying..."
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick
Grandparents: Off to bed now
- In the (now-cut) "Creation Overture", the narrator rattles off a list of additional ingredients one might add to chocolate: "...vanilla, coffee, toffee, kiwis, seaweed, liquorice, cinnamon, bicycles, babies, anything you like..."
- In "A Letter from Charlie Bucket", there's this stretch of lyrics:
Charlie Bucket: Counting sheep
Grandparents: Hope we don't die in our sleep
- As Violet chews her way through the first few courses of the experimental gum, which recreates a Sunday dinner one might have enjoyed in 1979, Mr. 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: Willy Wonka has Medium Awareness and does this a few times.
- Brick Joke: When the company takes their bows, Mr. Wonka is first seen in one of the theatre's box seats, having successfully entered that world.
- Butterfly of Transformation: During "Simply Second Nature", a song about Mr. Wonka's need to create beautiful things, a sudden wave of his cane reveals a butterfly perched upon it. Given the theme of humble things and people containing (or concealing) great beauty and possibility, that likely isn't there just to look pretty...
- Canon Foreigner: Mrs. Pratchett — though she's an equivalent 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; cultural detailing implies that it's in England. (There's even a Separated by a Common Language joke.) The key exception is the Great Glass Elevator as opposed to Lift, probably because the book's sequel went with the former term.
- Climactic Music: The otherwise new score incorporates one song from the 1971 film adaptation of the novel — "Pure Imagination" — to serve this function, as it underlines the trip in the Great Glass Elevator and the revelation that Charlie's won the factory.
- Coincidental Broadcast: The Buckets learn the news about the third and fourth Golden Ticket finders in the midst of their disappointment that Charlie's birthday Wonka Bar didn't yield up a ticket. Grandpa George lampshades this when his talk about the hopeless situation is immediately followed by the announcement of Violet's find. ("See, I told you!")
- Comically Missing the Point: Veruca's undoing is dramatized with a ballet spoof as she faces off with the giant squirrels. 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. First, it's Black Comedy: Violet exploding results in a shower of purple glitter over the balconies. The second time, it's festive as confetti cannons are shot off to celebrate Charlie's triumph.
- Contrived Coincidence: It factors into The Reveal: In the opening scene, Charlie and a disguised Willy Wonka happen to be at the dump at the same time. Because of this some later events that look like coincidences aren't; Mr. Wonka has engineered them.
- Cool Chair: In the Waiting Room of the factory each brat gets a chair that seems to have been designed for him/her. Augustus's is Oktoberfest-styled and clearly designed to support his weight, Veruca's is dainty and pink, Violet's is shiny silver, and Mike's resembles a roller coaster seat and even has a joystick in one armrest. Poor Charlie's chair is a plain wooden one, seemingly befitting his The Runt at the End status.
- Costume Porn: 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. Willy Wonka's costume also deserves mention for being extremely faithful to Dahl's original description.
- Creation Sequence: Rather than a traditional overture a short animated film detailing how chocolate is made (designed by Quentin Blake, a frequent Roald Dahl collaborator), "Creation Overture", served to ease the audience into the show. It was deleted when the first cast turnover took place in 2014, for reasons unknown.
- Creative Sterility: Charlie is the only Golden Ticket finder who isn't affected by this. The brats consume rather than create and their parents are unable to understand the concept of Doing It for the Art.
- Crowd Song: All of the Oompa-Loompas' numbers, as per usual. "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" evolves into this as everyone celebrates Charlie's Golden Ticket find.
- Cryptic Background Reference: Played for Laughs during "Vidiots": Apparently, Mr. Wonka used to go to raves, but back problems became an issue...
- 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. But Charlie is rewarded for reading and adding to the idea notebook...a Secret Test of creativity.
- Cyber Punk Is Techno: Electronic music is used for Mike's lines in "It's Teavee Time" and the entirety of "Vidiots".
- Cyberspace: Mike zaps himself into this via the Chocolate Television 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 All Take and No Give, especially when she's mad — and Violet. These don't lead to good things, however!
- Darker and Edgier: It takes the novel's Black Comedy a few steps further, most obviously with the brats' fates. But it's not that far removed from its source and remains a family-friendly show.
- Deadpan Snarker: Willy Wonka, as per usual, but several Act One-specific characters snark too, such as Mrs. Pratchett and Cherry Sunday (particularly where her egotistical colleague Jerry is concerned).
- Death by Adaptation: Happens to Prince Pondicherry in the Backstory as a prelude to this trope being highly possible for the bratty kids apart from Mike, who gets a Fate Worse Than Death! 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 reassuring ("At least he died doing what he loved best."). Violet explodes and 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"). Veruca and Mr. Salt...well, they certainly head for the incinerator.
- Demoted to Extra: Three of the brats' parents only appear in the kids' Act One introductory sequences. Mr. Gloop participating in "More of Him to Love" is more than he gets to do in either film. Mrs. Beauregarde is a background extra. Mr. Teavee is a prop with a single line ("Wha?"). As for Mrs. Salt, she's Adapted Out.
- Dispense with the Pleasantries: Willy Wonka; in "Strike That, Reverse It" he is more concerned with getting the contracts signed and starting the tour: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...
- Disproportionate Retribution: As Veruca and her father apparently have no hope of rescue, Charlie and Grandpa Joe dawdle after they vanish, pondering the matter. Grandpa Joe notes "She was rather annoying." "But even so..."
- Door-Closes Ending: At the end of Act One, the winners head into the factory through a heavy metal door; Mr. Wonka follows them through and after Breaking the Fourth Wall to invite the audience in as well slams it shut. By that point there's only a spotlight on the door in a sort of Iris Out effect; when it's slammed shut, the whole stage goes dark.
- Double-Meaning Title: "A Little Me" means both "a little like me" and "a smaller version of me" in context.
- Down in the Dumps: The Bucket house is located near one. Both Charlie and his dad stop there regularly to find potentially useful items; it's as much a symbol of possibility and creativity as of decay and waste.
- Dumb Blonde: Both Augustus and Veruca.
- Eating Contest: Augustus Gloop is noted as a "three times regional bratwurst eating champion".
- Edible Theme Naming: Cherry Sunday, who interviews each Golden Ticket finder.
- Enfant Terrible: Mike. As Mrs. Teavee explains, "[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 reliable way to keep him out of trouble, but it 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!
- Exact Words: The Golden Ticket finders are promised a lifetime supply of sweets. One Everlasting Gobstopper counts. Grandpa Joe gives a What the Hell, Hero? speech to Mr. Wonka, pushing a Berserk Button — only Charlie, Standing Between the Enemies, is able to stop them from actually fighting.
- The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: Specific to the track listing on the cast album, "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" (there's no Title Drop).
- Fixing the Game: How Mike "finds" his Golden Ticket. He hacks into Mr. Wonka's computers and gets one without buying a Wonka Bar at all.
- Flashback: When Charlie closes his eyes to visualize the Prince Pondicherry story in "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka", the sequence is presented to the audience in the style of a shadow puppet play.
- Follow Your Heart: "Pure Imagination".
- Forbidden Zone: The Department of the Future has all the trappings of one from the outside. It's 10,000 feet below the surface of the Earth, and accessible only by a boat ride past various failed projects of Mr. Wonka's (he rarely visits — it's so far ahead of its time), with an entrance door surrounded by ominous signs discouraging entry. This is where the Television Chocolate setup is kept, and it does prove to be dangerous for Mike.
- 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!" Later, Willy Wonka and his factory will be described in similarly royal terms.
- The Prince Pondicherry Flashback is tweaked. First, he commissioned the chocolate palace to please a chocolate-craving bride, and second, when it melted in the summer — Mr. Wonka warned them that it would, but did they listen? — with them inside, they died. This presages several potential Deaths by Adaptation and 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 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 Mr. Wonka give Charlie a "proper" lifetime supply of sweets because he deserves it for being good. And as Charlie is still grateful for that chocolate bar even though it doesn't have a Golden Ticket, he accepts the Everlasting Gobstopper because it's "an amazing present".
- On the grounds of Veruca's Big Fancy House, the hedge that surrounds it includes squirrel topiaries.
- In "The Double Bubble Duchess", Violet raps that the gum she's chewing is "fruity, not nutty/Like that stupid girl Veruca". Considering what happens to each girl later...
- When Charlie uses a dropped pound note to buy a Wonka Bar from Mrs. Prachett, she sarcastically comments "You've finally come into your inheritance?"
- "Strike That, Reverse It" is full 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 become fudge! (This also puts a cruel twist on "More of Him to Love"!) He tells Violet "Your confidence is quite intense/But just don't jump the gum." Almost as soon as a 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 revealed in the climax.
- Fur and Loathing: While originally Veruca's fur coat was Pretty in Mink to emphasize that's she's a Spoiled Brat, here when Mr. Wonka asks if her coat is mink, her father says the coat is made from clubbed baby seals that were "tickled pink".
- Genre Roulette: Charlie and his family's songs are old-fashioned showtunes ala The Sherman Brothers or Oliver! Each of the four brats gets a different style (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").
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Mr. Wonka's "entire Sunday roast dinner" gum. "Violet, whatever you do don't hit [blueberry] pudding."
- Grade-School C.E.O.: Charlie immediately takes Mr. Wonka's place as factory owner (with his family and the Oompa-Loompas supporting him); the Pep-Talk Song "A Little Me" has Mr. Wonka reassuring him that he has what it takes to be this trope.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: "Juicy!", which underscores Violet's undoing.
- Greed: Not only are Augustus and Veruca greedy in their own ways, but 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, and Mr. Beauregarde is a Slimeball in his marketing and merchandising of Violet.
- Green Aesop: "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!" (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: 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. (They don't use it often.)
- Horrible Hollywood: Violet and her dad embody its shallow and greedy sides: She's conceited, ditzy, and talentless, but thanks to him she's a wildly successful starlet complete with entourage.
- Hurricane of Puns: There are puns throughout this show, but they swirl around Violet. "The Double Bubble Duchess" has puns based around gum and the word "pop" (as in bubbles and pop culture). Even more...well...pop up in "Juicy!": "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 endless wonders within it — all of his invention. Doubles as a Welcoming Song, albeit with the spectacle and stylistic flourishes of a Villain Song.
- "I Am" Song: Quite a few, including four consecutive songs in Act One.
- "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)
- Both "The Double Bubble Duchess" and its replacement "Queen of Pop" (Violet and her dad)
- "It's Teavee Time" and its American replacement "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" (Mrs. Teavee and Mike; his part in both songs overlaps with Villain Song)
- 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 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 Lovebird Couple who accidentally wind up at the dump. Mrs. Pratchett 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 contains the last Golden Ticket.
- I Have Just One Thing to Say: The climactic scene hinges on this, as delivered by Willy Wonka to Charlie regarding his daydreaming habit, which Wonka initially suggests is as bad as the brats' vices.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Mike Teavee gets shrunk to the size of an action figure in the Television Room. His mother is delighted because at his new size he can no longer cause problems and he'll be easier for her to manage. And with that Mrs. Teavee places her tiny son in her purse and walks out the door with a spring in her step!
- Incredibly Long Note: On the cast album version of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" Douglas Hodge, at full belt, manages to make the final seen last ten seconds. (On stage, the note is cut off sooner as he calls out the Golden Ticket winners, dialogue that's moved to the bridge of the song on the album.)
- Infectious Enthusiasm: Mrs. Teavee — the Only Sane Person through most of Act Two, terrified by the strange world of the factory and the fates of the misbehaving kids — ends up affected by this in "Vidiots", "The Villain Sucks" Song regarding her son.
- In-Joke: Mrs. Pratchett 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.
- Internal Homage: Several to the 1971 film adaptation:
- When Mr. Wonka first appears, he briefly feigns being feebler than he actually is — referencing Gene Wilder's famous entrance as Wonka. (Instead of a somersault, he performs an Instant Costume Change.)
- The 1971 Wonka's tendency to mix up his words, followed by the phrase "Strike that, reverse it", is retained here (as in the novel's sequel, which made 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 at times, such mixups are common for him. Also, during the number he makes the parents sign an elaborate contract...
- "Pure Imagination" is the Climactic Music. Also counts as a Bootstrapped Theme.
- There's at least one reference to the 2005 film, as Augustus 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! More subtly, it's suggested that Mr. Bucket lost his toothpaste factory job because of automated machinery making him redundant, and Charlie saves all the Wonka Bar wrappers he collects and pastes them up on the wall of his shack near his bed, details that first appeared in '05.
- Is It Something You Eat?: Big Eater Augustus 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's All Upstairs From Here: The last room Charlie and Grandpa Joe are shown, the Imagining Room, is the topmost room of the factory (as Mr. Wonka puts it, "If you were any further up, you'd be down") and can only be accessed by a staircase.
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: In the cellars of the factory are projects of Mr. Wonka's that qualify as this: 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 Square Sweets That Look Round in a Mythology Gag.
- "I Want" Song: "A Letter from Charlie Bucket" establishes his generous nature in that what he wants is for his ideas for new treats to be realized by Mr. Wonka. Said treats can improve the lives of Charlie's family, if only by making them feel happy. At the end, he admits there are two things he wants for himself — for Mr. Wonka to deliver them personally so that they can all meet him, "And well, I'd like one Wonka Bar/That I would share with you."
- Just Desserts: ("Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop" is specifically about how this rotten boy will be turned into a tasty treat, and in "Juicy!" the Oompa-Loompas note that when Violet explodes "We'll scoop up every chunk/And we'll serve her a la mode").
- Karmic Jackpot: In contrast to the possible Karmic Deaths for some of the naughty kids, Charlie gets this for being kind to the tramp and unconsciously revealing his worthy, creative, appreciative nature to him. The tramp is Mr. Wonka in a disguise.
- Kent Brockman News: Jerry gets annoyed when his commentary on the Golden Ticket frenzy and attempts at cute nicknames for it ("A-choc-alypse" and "Chocageddon!") are interrupted by Cherry's news of the fourth ticket being found.
- Koan: Two of Willy Wonka's songs are 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 Mr. 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."
- Mr. Wonka tweaks the 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!"
- Charlie's incredulity at Mr. Wonka not only choosing him — a boy with no candymaking experience — as his successor but making him a Grade-School C.E.O. immediately is what cues the song "A Little Me".
- Last-Second Word Swap: Mr. Wonka greets Augustus with "Goodness, you look so faaaa...ntastically healthy."
- Leitmotif: A chiming arrangement of "A Little Me" is the leitmotif of the dump scenes in Act One (it isn't performed onstage until the final scene of Act Two).
- Long Song, Short Scene
- Downplayed example: When the show opened, "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" was slightly longer via a bridge between the second verse and the telling of the Prince Pondicherry story in which the grandparents described even more of Mr. Wonka's inventions, but this was cut with the first cast turnover in 2014. The Broadway production rendered the whole thing a Cut Song.
- "Strike That, Reverse It" has an additional verse that only appears on the OLCR, which starts with "Outside my gates you're free to do/The charming things that make you you". Oddly, this verse includes a crucial hint for the climax: "Do as I do, not as I say". The corresponding sequence in the stage version has additional dialogue (the Quick Nip gag described below) that does not appear on the cast album.
- Make a Wish
- Trying to brighten Charlie's mood, his dad suggests they look for a shooting star to wish upon. Charlie doesn't want a wish 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?...
- The trope name is also dropped via Internal Homage in the 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 pointed up the humble nature of a cacao bean and marveled over how something as lovely as a cacao tree, and from there chocolate, can come from it. 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.)
- 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 "And any journey worth the schlep/Must begin with one small step". Both songs take place outside the factory's main entrance too.
- The phrase "making something out of nothing", which initially seems to be an Ice Cream Koan, first appears in "Strike That, Reverse It". In the climactic scene, a Double Meaning — its true meaning — is revealed.
- The phrase "Strike that, reverse it" turns up two more times in more touching contexts. In "Simply Second Nature", Mr. Wonka corrects 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". It's later used to explain that Charlie did the right thing by disobeying him to look at the notebook.
- Mr. Wonka calls up Charlie and Grandpa Joe to the Imagining Room with "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.
- Medley Overture: This show never had a conventional overture but it does have an Entr'acte featuring the three most uptempo numbers: "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka", "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", and "A Little Me". The last serves as an exuberantly fast coda, owing in part to the conductor turning out to be Willy Wonka, who's in a hurry to get the tour of his factory started.
- The Mel Brooks Number: The Oompa-Loompa songs underscoring the naughty kids' demises.
- Midnight Snack: Referenced — Mrs. Gloop thinks the Chocolate Room is "a little cupboard of treats for a midnight feast."
- Million to One Chance: When his annual birthday chocolate bar — which he only gets because Grandpa Joe sacrificed what little money he's stashed away — doesn't yield a Golden Ticket, Charlie's hopes seem dashed. Then he comes into some dropped money and buys a single bar from the sweet stall, and...For the whole Bucket family, this incredible turn of events is a sign of hope for their future fortunes and a subversion! Charlie's "luck" was engineered by Mr. Wonka.
- Mood Whiplash: Very intentionally invoked — the gentle, emotional "Simply Second Nature" is immediately followed by Veruca Screaming at Squick at Augustus drinking from the chocolate waterfall; moreover, as soon as he falls into the river the Black Comedy that's been bubbling through Act One explodes as it becomes clear Mr. Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas have No Sympathy for what might happen to him. The proceedings grow darker in tone from this point on, not fully letting up until Charlie proves himself worthy of becoming Wonka's successor.
- 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 Willy Wonka's speedy way with words.
- Mr. Imagination: Charlie Bucket is more grounded than most — prone to daydreaming, but he uses his imagination to make the best of his 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.
- Musical Chores: "Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop" is a dark spoof of this trope: A melody as merry and toe-tapping as "Heigh-Ho" or "Whistle While You Work", sung by a race of Little People no less, is used to taunt a helpless kid via a description of what they will do to him when he reaches the Fudge Room!
- My Beloved Smother:
- In contrast to Daddy's Girl Veruca and Violet, Augustus Gloop is spoiled and overfed by his overbearing, food-obsessed mother.
- After Mike Teavee gets shrunk his mother is excited to look after him "Just like I did when you were a little, tiny baby!"
- Mysterious Mist / Ominous Fog: The subterranean river to The Department of the Future has mist swirling about its surface. Given the Forbidden Zone feel to the room from the outside, it carries the connoations of the latter trope as well.
- Mythology Gag
- Charlie's "How'ja do?" Catchphrase in Act One is inspired by the Breaking the Fourth Wall introduction to the character in the opening chapter, in which he, via the third-person narrator, greets the reader with "How d'you do? And how d'you do? And how d'you do again?"
- Charlie's mother takes in laundry to earn money for the family; in the 1971 film, in which Mr. Bucket passed away before the story begins, she worked at a laundry.
- Mike Teavee's favorite videogame is Captain Knuckleduster, a title inspired by the novel's counterpart loving TV shows with gangsters "giving each other the one-two-three with their knuckle-dusters!"
- The show is set in The Present Day and opened in 2013. Willy Wonka is explicitly described as having been a recluse "for over 40 years" — so, since The '60s, when the novel was published.
- In the novel there are many inventions of Mr. Wonka's only discussed or mentioned in passing: ice cream that never melts, Eatable Marshmallow Pillows, Fizzy Lifting Drinks, etc. Those three and several others are worked into this adaptation as ideas Charlie has.
- Named by the Adaptation: Sir Robert Salt, Eugene Beauregarde, and Doris and Norman Teavee.
- New Media Are Evil: "Vidiots" 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 robots; while they "speak" in groans and squawks, Mr. Wonka understands them as well as they understand his English.
- Not His Sled: The climax has a substantial change from all other versions: Charlie's disobedience at a crucial juncture wins him the factory.
- Not Hyperbole: In "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", Mr. Wonka sings "Your life's about to change now/So don't get left behind". As he leads the Golden Ticket tour group through the factory, this promise proves to be absolutely true.
- Oktoberfest / Yodel Land: The Gloop family embodies these tropes; they're specifically stated to be Bavarian.
- 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.").
- 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 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.
- While waiting for him to emerge from the factory, Jerry proclaims that Mr. Wonka has "been hiding in his sugary Shangri-La for over 40 years!" In the novel/film Lost Horizon, a wondrous place isolated from the rest of the world turns out to be in need of a new leader.
- "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, 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 The Nutcracker with reversed sympathies — the girl is the villainess and the giant rodents are the heroes! Part of the melody of the song ("Yes, now she'll join the trash below/So spoiled and so rotten/The fish head from a week ago/Some Gouda long forgotten") is even lifted from the famous "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy".
- The Great Glass Elevator is patterned after a classic British telephone box, but it's see-through and glows blue. Any resemblance to the TARDIS may well be intentional.
- 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, with each thinking the other could do a better job of cheering Charlie up.
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Mike, The Cracker, figured out Mr. Wonka's password was "golden star". He even boasts "Wonka's security system sucks!" on the red carpet!
- Patter Song: "Strike That, Reverse It" for Willy Wonka. The 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. (Tellingly, Alex Jennings, who took over the role of Wonka from Douglas Hodge, had to have all but the contract summary slowed down in order to perform it.)
- 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; all were staged in a giant television set in London.
- Pink Means Feminine: Veruca wears all pink, from her headband to her fur.
- Plot Hole: It's not a big one, but the rest of the Bucket family is waiting at the factory for Charlie and Mr. Wonka when they return from their Great Glass Elevator flight, and have been debriefed on all that's happened. How did all that happen when the "Pure Imagination" sequence takes only a few minutes of stage time? (Could be that it would take longer in reality, and/or is related to the reveal that Mr. Wonka was pulling for Charlie all along.)
- Practical Effects: After Mike Teavee gets shrunk in the Television Room he's portrayed by an action figure sized puppet.
- Quick Nip: During "Strike That, Reverse It", as Mike runs amok 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 "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!"
- Read the Fine Print: Attempted by the parents/guardians of the kids when they ask Mr. Wonka what the thick, bound contracts they are expected to sign actually say. Mr. Wonka hastily summarizes them with copious amounts of nonsensical legalese and Gratuitous Latin. They still don't understand it, but the impatient kids cry "Just sign!" Given later events, this contract apparently boils down to "I am not responsible for the consequences (transformation, dismemberment, possibly death, etc.) if you the undersigned fiddle around with what you're not supposed to."
- Rearrange the Song: An unusual case. In-show, the arrangement of "Pure Imagination" is similar to that in its source movie. But Douglas Hodge, the actor who originated the role of Willy Wonka in this production, is a Singer-Songwriter on the side and did two promotional appearances (on BBC Radio 3 and Sky Arts' The Elaine Paige Show) in which he performed a gentle acoustic guitar-based cover of the song in his natural singing voice.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Played straight with the Oompa-Loompas' The Villain Sucks Songs about the bratty kids, since they're around to hear them at the time (unlike in the novel) and "Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop" is directly addressed to him. The climactic speech that Willy Wonka makes to Charlie Bucket appears to be this but turns out to be I Have Just One Thing to Say instead.
- Retro Universe / Schizo Tech: While set in The Present Day, Violet's dad has a 1970s funk/disco vibe and look, Mrs. Teavee by her own desperate design looks like she's stepped out of a turn-of-The '60s sitcom, and the Lovebird Couple seems to have wandered out of a Noel Coward play. The Buckets make do with what they find/modify, and their home and outfits wind up a 1930s-through-'60s hodgepodge (as Sam Mendes noted in an interview with The Telegraph — he also pointed out that it's a pound note Charlie uses to buy the fateful Wonka Bar, which hasn't been around since the turn of The '70s). In the factory, all bets are off where aesthetics are concerned — invoking the second trope with bucket/pulley elevators, tin can robots, the ultra-high-tech Television Chocolate setup, and a Great Glass Elevator that soars into the night sky. See also Genre Roulette above.
- The Reveal / Walking Spoiler: It turns out that the tramp is Willy Wonka. This covers many additional tropes, so the character sheet has a folder for the relevant character to avoid whiting out huge chunks of this page. Crucially, this character does NOT appear in the revised Broadway/tour version.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The giant squirrels in the Nut Room.
- Roll Out the Red Carpet: The day of the 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).
- 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 imagine wondrous things. The twist the third time? 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." (Also counts as Eye Motifs.)
- 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: Act One has an ever-moonlit junkyard, the ramshackle Bucket residence, and colorful mini-sets for the first four Golden Ticket finders. Then it's into the factory for Act Two.
- Screaming at Squick: Veruca shrieks upon seeing Augustus drinking from the chocolate waterfall.
- Secret Test: As ever, the tour is a way to find Mr. Wonka's successor. But there's a unique sub-test too: he leaves Charlie alone in a room with his 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 spirit and perfect heir.
- Separated by a Common Language: Mr. Wonka will remind you that the dessert course of his not-yet-perfected gum is blueberry pudding, not pie (as Violet, who is portrayed as American, calls it).
- Serious Business: "The Amazing Fantastical History/Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" marvels over how desired his impossibly delicious sweets are worldwide, and Cherry is noted as a TV network's "chief confectionery correspondent"; this world takes its chocolate very seriously, so can one be surprised that Mr. Wonka himself has Skewed Priorities with regards to his sweets versus the safety of his tour group?
- "Setting Off" Song: "Strike That, Reverse It"; doubles as a Patter Song (see above).
- Setting Update: To The New '10s, given Violet and Mike's characterizations, but Retro Universe also applies.
- Showstopper: "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", Willy Wonka's first number (in London, anyway) and the closing song of Act One.
- Sidekick Song: "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" becomes a Crowd Song, but most of it is handled by Older Sidekick Grandpa Joe (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 lets Grandpa Joe lead everyone in the final stretch!
- Sigil Spam: A large W crowns the topmost tower of the factory exterior, and it shows up all over the place inside, including on the Oompa-Loompas' boiler suits. Even Mr. Wonka's tie tack is a little gold W. This trope is carried over to the exterior of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for the Broadway production.
- Skewed Priorities: Your daughter is swelling into a massive blueberry so what do you do? Try to profit off her sudden change and be famous rich and famous of course! At least that's what Mr. Beauregarde thinks.
- Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Type 3 (Pragmatic Adaptation). Adaptation Expansion fleshes out the characters (particularly Charlie and Willy Wonka) and gives the story a stronger climax and distinct Central Theme. Many incidents and conversations from the book that have been cut are referred to in passing and/or repurposed (Lickable Wallpaper, Fizzy Lifting Drinks, etc.), bespeaking a close reading of the source material.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This is a rare idealistic Black Comedy.
- So Proud of You: "A Little Me" is this 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 reportedly 10 million pounds (close to $17 million U.S.), borne out by the elaborate Scenery Porn and Costume Porn.
- Spontaneous Choreography: Since you can't be sure about those Oompa-Loompas, this only definitely shows up in "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" and "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen". The former is a Crowd Song; the latter is a solo for Mr. Wonka yet the entire crowd outside the factory serves as backup dancers.
- 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: "She's certainly something, Mr. Beauregarde. I'm just not sure what."
- Stepford Smiler: Mrs. Teavee is Type A (inwardly depressed).Medication sets us free
One for him and two for me
And at six I pour a shot of "Mommy Water"
- Storybook Opening: "Creation Overture" started this way (the book a large purple one with a golden W emblazoned on its cover), 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 even says "Jerry, I'm in suburbia."
- The touring production touches upon this too. "They say it's Iowa, but how can you tell? We're in the sweet suburban home of a typical American family..."
- They Just Dont Get It: The adults' inability to understand Mr. Wonka's simple explanation for the existence of the 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 in Act One. (Their actors double as the Lovebird Couple.)
- 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 is more dangerous, and the final Secret Test 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 "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" finale; also a Wham Song.
- Two-Act Structure: Parallel, with Act Two wackier than Act One. Act One is set in the "real" world and follows the Golden Ticket contest, with Charlie by far the nicest yet worst-off of the finders. Act Two is set in The Wonderland, where Laser-Guided Karma prevails: Charlie gets a Happily Ever After while the others get what's coming to them. The tonal shift — from light to dark and wildly whimsical — comes in "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen".
- Uncertain Doom: The kids and Mr. Salt all face doom offstage, with the songs cheerfully detailing the specifics of what's to happen, though it's never confirmed.
- Unconfessed Unemployment: In this version Mr. Bucket loses his toothpaste factory job a week before the action starts. He and his wife mutually keep it a secret from Charlie and the grandparents — he leaves and returns to the shack at the same times he always did, looking for work in the interim. They are 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 (whereupon Grandpa Joe decides to give up what little change he's saved to make sure he gets it).
- Underdogs Never Lose: Charlie is regarded as The Runt at the End by almost everyone, and not just because he was the last to find his ticket; it is announced in advance that one of the Golden Ticket winners will get a secret grand surprise come the end of the tour. Cherry comments that he'll be lucky to get a bon-bon.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: In this adaptation, the Crapsaccharine World that is the Wonka factory hits this trope — granted, with an Anti-Hero in charge and jerks as the victims. While Mr. Wonka gives token warnings to the children, the factory and its workers tend to take out those outsiders who dare to mess 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: all specifically about the nasty children, and full of insults.
- Weird Moon: An enormous full moon looms over the dump and the nearby Bucket residence...with the distant but similarly gigantic Wonka Factory in silhouette before it. This image is echoed from a different perspective with the Imagining Room, the topmost room of the factory, looking down upon the full moon-silhouetted town.
- Welcoming Song: "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen".
- 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 sky to get a proper perspective on both the factory he's won and the wonders those who use their imagination can create.
- World of Ham: Charlie and his parents are the only characters who don't ham it up at some point (though Charlie's fantasy of being a king in "Almost Nearly Perfect" suggests he has hamming potential). But as his entrance at the end of Act One proves, Willy Wonka is the biggest ham of all. Applies to everyone in the Retool due to a different director and approach.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Mr. Salt claims his workers unwrapped Wonka Bars "For forty days and forty nights" in "When Veruca Says", but the contest was only announced the day before her ticket was found. Violet's record-breaking gum chewing stint is half a year according to "The Double Bubble Duchess", but 3+ years in "Strike That, Reverse It"'s dialogue. In real life these mistakes might owe to different writers for the book and lyrics — although these could arguably be explained, to a degree. Mr. Salt's proclamation of "For forty days and forty nights" could be his way of letting the press know the sort of lengths he would go to in order to please his daughter, and Violet's gum-chewing record being more than three years could just be her and/or her father playing up her dubious "talent".
- The X of Y: "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" (Titled "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" on the soundtrack) and The Department of the Future.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Charlie worries that he can't take over the factory because he has no candymaking experience. Mr. Wonka explains in "A Little Me" that being inexperienced means he's capable of learning and becoming a unique talent; moreover, he's "not just any careless child", but bright, imaginative, kind, unspoiled, and disciplined, "So aren't you glad upon review/That Charlie Bucket I chose you!"
- You Are Fat: This is an adaptation that forces Augustus to put up with this, as the Oompa-Loompas' "The Villain Sucks" Song about him is performed while he's struggling in the pipe ("To the mixing room he rises/Hope that pipe can take all sizes") rather than afterward. See also Stealth Insult above.
- 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.
- Adaptational Species Change: This version completely reinvents the Oompa-Loompas as robots instead of humans, with each of them bearing the likeness of Wonka himself.
- Adapted Out: Mr. Bucket doesn't appear in this version.
- Composite Character: The tramp at the dump is eliminated but his role as a straight man of sorts to Charlie's enthusiasm is given to Mrs. Pratchett.
- The '80s: Downplayed, but background detailing suggests the action as taking place during the Falklands War, so, 1982.
- Gender Flip: Mr. Beauregarde is a Mrs. in this version. As well, the casting was opened up to allow Charlie to be played by and portrayed as a girl as needed (the role is alternated between three performers due to union rules for child performers) since the character's gender doesn't affect the plot.
- Retool: Some elements introduced in the Broadway and international versions turn up, as well as unique changes:
- The Four Bratty Kids are played by adults instead of children.
- The Salts are British, as in the West End production.
- "Simply Second Nature" is cut in favor of "Pure Imagination" for the Chocolate Room scene, with "The View from Here" serving as the Climactic Music.
- Veruca and her dad are wheeled off in a waste bin, though they're still headed for the incinerator.
- Downplayed: "It's Teavee Time" is intact but renamed "The Teavee Family".
- Unique to this tour, Mr. Bucket is not only Adapted Out but "If Your Father Were Here" is cut, with "The Candy Man" taking its place in the narrative.
- Unique to ANY adaptation of this novel, the Oompa-Loompas are clockwork robots modeled to resemble their creator — eliminating the novel's controversial backstory entirely.
- The new song "You Got Whacha Want" replaces "Juicy!"/"When Willy Met Oompa" for Violet's demise, with a basketball-themed staging.
- While "A Little Me" is eliminated, unlike on Broadway Charlie's family reappears in the closing scene with a reprise of "The Candy Man" while Wonka breaks the fourth wall by heading out into the audience to parts unknown.
- Accidental Murder: Possibly Violet's fate if she isn't put back together offstage, since the only reason she explodes is because an Oompa-Loompa decides to use a blowdart on her. This is not commented upon.
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: Compared to the London musical. While Charlie still starts working at the factory immediately like in London, he now is no longer a Grade-School C.E.O., and Mr. Wonka doesn't leave the factory.
- Adaptational Badass: Veruca is an established ballet dancer, which means she's able to navigate Mr Wonka's maze with ease. It also means she does last much longer against the squirrels than her book or 2005 movie counterpart did.
- Adaptational Dye-Job: In the London production, Mrs. Teavee is portrayed as a brunette. Redheaded Jackie Hoffman played her in New York.
- Adaptational Heroism: When Violet starts swelling up into a blueberry in the London version, her father is actually eager about her transformation, and cares more about the potential fame it could bring them rather than the safety of his own daughter (depending on the actor, he would even express disappointment when she explodes, as he had just lost his ticket to stardom). Here, he's genuinely concerned for his daughter's well-being throughout the scene and is absolutely shocked when she explodes all over him.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Willy Wonka. On top of the Uncertain Doom his guests face in the London version, in his King Incognito persona he has no problem stringing Charlie along by teasing giving him a free Wonka Bar but never following through every time they meet up — even when Charlie helps him out at the shop. (Charlie buys the fateful Wonka bar from Mrs. Green when Wonka "accidentally" leaves behind a dollar bill.) He sends all the guests through a trap door at the end of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen". During "Strike That, Reverse It" he smacks Augustus on the hand with a mallet, pulls the gum out of Violet's mouth, and seizes Mike's iPad without explanation. Later, he smashes Mike's smartphone after tricking him into letting him have it, steals Charlie's idea to market a banana/uranium mixture as "Liquid Sunshine" after telling him It Will Never Catch On, leads the group through an invisible maze where most of them end up getting hurt, and forces the Buckets to walk through the river (with old-timey diving helmets) to the Department of the Future because they dawdled after the Nut Room (although the boat likely wouldn't have held them anyway...note ). On top of this, his sensitive side is almost nonexistent with "Simply Second Nature" being dropped and the Golden Ticket contest being launched as much to boost his sales and profile as anything else. The libretto's justification is that he's embittered by humanity after being betrayed by his old workforce. He was even worse in previews on Broadway, not only denying to Charlie that he and the candy shop owner were one and the same but encouraging the others to mock him for drawing the connection. The touring productions add this last bit back in, but very slightly downplays Wonka's other jerkass tendencies.
- Adaptational Nationality:
- Veruca and her father are Russian to extend her ballet motif and, probably, to mock Vladimir Putin and his ilk.
- As noted below under Cultural Translation, Willy Wonka, Charlie, and his family are all citizens of whatever country the show is being performed in, letting the actors use their natural accents.
- In "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" and a quick joke before Mike enters the factory, a number of references are made to U.S. President Donald Trump; later Mrs. Teavee points out Mike's "tiny hands" after he's shrunk. Most of these were downplayed towards the end of the show's New York run, and from there "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" was cut altogether in favor of a new song, "That Little Man of Mine", for the touring productions.
- Adaptation Name Change: Mrs. Teavee was given the first name Doris in London, but it's Ethel in New York.
- Mr. Salt also has his named changed from Robert to Oleg, reflecting his nationality in this version.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Grandpa Joe (as in the 2005 film adaptation and the 2005 stage play Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka) used to work for Willy Wonka until he sacked his original workforce en masse. Mr. Wonka gives him his job back in the end.
- Adapted Out: Canon Foreigner Mrs. Pratchett isn't in this version; she's replaced by vegetable seller Mrs. Green.
- Age Lift: The role of Mrs. Teavee was played by Jackie Hoffman in New York City; she was significantly older than most of the actresses who played her in London.
- Animals Not to Scale: In the Nut Room, with the exception of a normal-sized squirrel named Jeremy, the squirrels who ultimately kill Veruca are human-sized.
- Announcer Chatter: As Charlie goes through the Maze of Deadly Traps, Willy Wonka plays sports commentator and comments on his performance.
- Beat: After Veruca is apparently killed by the squirrels, we come back to the remaining tour members now in Stunned Silence, leading into a very long beat that borders on Black Comedy.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Mike Teavee demands some action after Violet's explosion. Mr. Wonka gets a sly look in his eye and reveals a dangerous invisible maze. Of course Mike fails it, while most of the other characters navigate it with ease. Grandpa Joe is too old, so Mr. Wonka navigates everyone through a shortcut back to where they started.
- Big "NO!": Charlie's response to learning the third Golden Ticket has been found.
- Book Ends: "My name is [fill-in-the-blank]. I make chocolate" are the first and last spoken lines in the show.
- Central Theme: The transformative power of imagination. The naughty kids can be seen to represent anyone who spends their life mindlessly consuming and chasing fleeting, empty pleasures — food (Augustus), possessions (Veruca), fame (Violet), shallow, instant-gratification media (Mike), what have you — often with dreadful consequences. By comparison, Charlie makes the best of his meager lot in life with the help of his imagination and his loving family, and wants to create things. This makes him an excellent candidate to inherit the amazing world within the titular factory... a world that we learn sprang up not from a desire for fame and fortune, but an ache to make the world a more colorful, beautiful place in their own way (even if others don't understand it). Put simply: Cultivating one's creativity and sharing it with others is a path to true happiness, a path even the humblest soul can take.
- Chekhov's Gun: Charlie's letter. He mentions in "A Letter From Charlie Bucket" that he hopes Mr. Wonka will read it and at the end of the song folds it into a paper airplane and throws it into the sky. That was that in London, but in this version during "The View From Here", Mr. Wonka presents the letter to Charlie to further enforce his victory.
- Coincidental Broadcast / Your Television Hates You: When Charlie visits the candy shop for the second time, telling the disguised Mr. Wonka that he'd rather not hear any news about the Golden Ticket contest so he won't obsess over it, Mr. Wonka agrees — and immediately turns on the TV just as the news about Augustus finding the first ticket breaks, which is followed shortly afterward by the announcement that Veruca has found the second. Later Mr. Wonka fiddles with the tropes by deliberately calling Charlie's attention to, in turn, the breaking news about Violet and then Mike, by which time Charlie's despair is being Played for Laughs.
- Composite Character: Willy Wonka and the shop owner thanks to King Incognito. Oddly, he doesn't sell the Wonka Bar containing the last Golden Ticket to Charlie; that duty's given over to Mrs. Green. He does, however, leave the dollar Charlie uses to buy said fateful bar.
- Confetti Drop: Only once this time: Purple confetti is shot out over the audience as Willy Wonka takes the stage during the Curtain Call.
- Covered in Gunge: Mr. Beauregarde ends up covered in the remains of his daughter after "Pop!" Goes the Human is invoked offstage.
- Curb Stomp Cushion: Though the squirrels get the upper hand, Veruca does last a long time against them, even coming close to escaping them.
- Crowd Song: Unlike in the West End version, "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" ends with the rest of the company singing backup for Mr. Wonka in addition to performing Spontaneous Choreography.
- Cultural Translation: The City with No Name, and by extension the Buckets and (usually) Willy Wonkanote , are relocated to whatever country the show is being performed in, with most of the U.K.-specific jokes, terminology, and references are either eliminated, such as the Separated by a Common Language joke mentioned above, or substituted with local equivalents. In the Australian staging, for example, Grandpa Joe claims to have been a travel agent for Burke and Wills.
- Death by Adaptation:
- Poor Mr. Bucket dies before the action begins, with "If Your Mother Were Here" changed to "If Your Father Were Here", a solo for Mrs. Bucket, albeit with a Dream Ballet for the two.
- Veruca Salt's fate is changed from being dumped down the garbage chute to being ripped apart by the squirrels, most likely killing her off for sure although she screams for her father offstage and Mr. Wonka assures the group that she can be put back together with a glue stick. (Violet and Augustus head for Uncertain Doom, as they do in London.)
- Demoted to Extra: The grandparents aside from Joe only sing backup in a few numbers and disappear after Act One. Mr. Bucket, due to Death by Adaptation, only appears in a Dream Ballet.
- Disney Death: Initially, rather than the Uncertain Doom most of the brats are left to in the West End version, all four were completely fixed up by the Oompa-Loompas at the end to appear in the finale. This was dropped during previews, changing their fates back to Uncertain Doom or near Death by Adaptation in Veruca's case.
- Door-Closes Ending: The show ends with Charlie Bucket re-entering the factory and closing the door behind him.
- Dream Ballet: "If Your Father Were Here" has a fantasy sequence for Mrs. Bucket in which she dances with her long-dead husband.
- Eagleland: Type 1 is parodied in "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"
- Edible Theme Naming: Jerry Jubilee (a pun on "cherry jubilee", a dessert), to go with Cherry Sunday; in London, he was just known as Jerry.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Charlie is pretty horrified by the children suffering horrific fates. He even tells Mr. Wonka outright that he wishes it hadn't happened though he loved the tour.
- Mrs. Bucket is a good parent who wants Charlie to study hard so he can get a better life. She still ensures that he gets his birthday chocolate and makes a wish for him on his birthday candle, so he can get what he wants.
- Mr. Wonka, despite his low opinion of most of the guests, protects them from the squirrels when they go for Veruca.
- Likewise, everyone is in Stunned Silence after Veruca is torn apart onstage. No even Mike has anything sarcastic to stay.
- Mr. Beauregard looks insulted on Charlie's behalf when Mr. Wonka dismisses his idea for Liquid Sunshine.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: In this version's "Vidiots," one verse has a visual "text conversation" animation, complete with emojis, in the projections. No bouncing ball is seen, but it provides for easy singalong-ability.
- The Gadfly: Willy Wonka mocks and/or dismisses anybody and everybody, even if it genuinely upsets them. This is particularly pronounced with his treatment of the Salts and Mike.
- Gesundheit: Used by Wonka in "Strike That, Reverse It" in response to Violet's "I chew." Used again two more times by Wonka and one time by the Ensemble in "When Willy Met Oompa" in response to the line "Oompa Loompa wanna chew, chew, chew." In response to Wonka, one female Oompa responds with "Thank you" both times. In the OBC recording, the same Oompa actually sneezes!
- Glory Days: Charlie describes Mr. Wonka's glory days in "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!" Unlike in the novel and other adaptations, Mr. Wonka's chocolate is no longer the most popular in the world; according to Charlie, "Only old people" buy it anymore.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The squirrels' eyes glow red before they finish off Veruca Salt.
- Groin Attack: Mike endures this while going through the Maze of Deadly Traps.
- #HashtagForLaughs: Broadway only. Mike mentions a few in his introduction, complete with spoken hashtags: #WhatALoser and #WillyWonkaIsAStupid-.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Virtually all of Willy Wonka's actions are entirely in his own self-interest. The Golden Ticket contest is launched as much to boost his sales and reputation as anything else. He finds it hilarious that people are hurting each other over the Serious Business of the contest, cruelly teases a hungry child with the possibility of a free Wonka Bar three times and makes sure that he knows how thin his hopes of finding a ticket are. He physically and verbally abuses his guests (especially Mike), steals and/or destroys their personal property, leads the Oompa-Loompas in a song-and-dance number when they are supposed to be saving Violet, and doesn't bat an eye at Veruca's onstage murder by the squirrels. While the audience is supposed to be rooting for him because the Bratty Kids and their parents are obnoxious, they're less so than they were in the London version (particularly poor Mike) — and Charlie and Grandpa Joe get abused for no reason. In London, Wonka's treatment of the Buckets on the tour makes some sense because Wonka has rigged his own contest for the boy's sake and has to hide it, but there's no reason his shopkeeper persona has to be so nasty. The libretto really pushes the idea that Wonka grew cold-hearted because of his old workforce betraying him to defuse this.
- Hope Spot: Veruca nearly outruns the squirrels when they gain the upper hand in their confrontation. They chase her down and tear her apart, as Mr. Wonka keeps everyone else from rescuing her.
- Idiot Ball: In this case, a literal "idiot ball", given her spherical transformation. Violet after chewing the gum and becoming a blueberry is told to stay still so she can be wheeled into the Juicing Room. Instead, she runs around in a panic, and before she can be saved she explodes.
- "I Am Great!" Song: Variation: Along with "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen", "The Candy Man" has Willy Wonka singing about himself in the third person.
- "I Am" Song: "Pure Imagination" effectively, if loosely, qualified as this in the 1971 film and does so again here for Mr. Wonka with its placement at the near-top of Act Two. Also, the bridge of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" is retained from London.
- Incredibly Long Note: On the Broadway cast album version of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen," Christian Borle makes the final "seen" last nearly ten seconds, much like Douglas Hodge did on the London cast album. What's notable here is that he calls out the ticket winners right afterwards, as in the show. (The note is still cut short in the show proper.)
- Innocent Innuendo: Regarding one of the squirrels in the Nut Room, Mr. Wonka has this to say:Willy Wonka: Jeremy is a highly trained mammalian factory operative. He sorts my nuts.
- Insult Backfire: In the Mixing Room, after Mr. Wonka shows off his exploding bonbons, Mr. Beauregarde calls him crazy. Wonka takes this as a compliment, noting that he likes to "mix things up".
- Internal Homage: Possibly unintentional, but this is the third stage adaptation of the novel that turns Mr. Wonka and the shop owner into a Composite Character King Incognito situation after the Turn of the Millennium versions Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and The Golden Ticket.
- Jerkass Realization: Veruca asks Charlie dismissively what a radioactive lollipop would do for kids who want to read at night. He explains his family doesn't have electricity because they're poor. Everyone looks briefly ashamed, and Mr. Beauregard praises Charlie's name for it.
- King Incognito: Willy Wonka masquerades as the owner of a candy shop near Charlie's home and interacts with the unawares boy over the course of Act One. This is not a spoiler: The very first scene of the show has Mr. Wonka revealing his double life.Willy Wonka: They'll never recognize me now!
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Mr. Wonka does a bag check for each of the Four Bratty Kids and their parents. While he doesn't bat an eye at the cleaver, grenade, or small mace he finds in the others' bags, he balks at the rubber duck in Violet's, tossing it offstage with a Girly Scream.
- Lighter and Softer: To a degree; the show (its appearance, at least) is intended to be more whimsical and less dark than the London production. On the other hand, Veruca is outright dismembered on-stage and Mr. Wonka is notably meaner throughout.
- List Song: A segment of "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" lists the medications that Mrs. Teavee takes to handle parenting Mike:Mrs. Teavee: Klonopin, Ativan, Paxil, and Valium
I need a pill just to sit down and tally 'em
Propofol's good, I've got Librium here
And I chase 'em all down with a bucket of beer!
And then I take as many as I can
- A similar segment appears in the touring production's replacement "That Little Man of Mine."
Of Lexapro and Ativan
With Klonopin and Paxil,
'til I'm spinning from my axel
Then Zoloft to Lexopam
'til mommy doesn't give a damn!
'Cause mommy's higher than Cloud 9
- Lost in Imitation: Many of the changes to the libretto are lifts from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, not only adding and sometimes replacing songs from the West End version with numbers from the 1971 film (the only ones that don't appear are "Cheer Up Charlie" and "I Want It Now") but also forcing Mr. Bucket to undergo Death by Adaptation and reducing the grandparents besides Joe to extras.
- Medley Overture: While the Broadway production has "Pure Imagination" as the show's (brief) overture, it also has an Entr'acte medley, this time containing "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!" "More of Him to Love", "The Candy Man", and "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen".
- The Australian production introduced an extended overture which includes the aforementioned "Pure Imagination," but also adds "Strike That, Reverse It" and "I've Got a Golden Ticket." This was subsequently added to the second US tour.
- Mood Whiplash: Deliberately done, as in London, but changes in the libretto made when transferring the show make the whiplash much more drastic. Notably, the London version's Foreshadowing of nasty fates for nasty people (i.e. the Prince Pondicherry story, Adapted Out with the loss of "The Amazing Tale of Willy Wonka") is almost completely eliminated, leaving the demises of the Four Bratty Kids to feel out of place and unexpected.
- Mr. Exposition: Charlie relates Willy Wonka's Backstory in "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!" — not knowing that his listener is Mr. Wonka himself.
- My Card: Eugene Beauregarde hands Mr. Wonka his during "Strike That, Reverse It". Wonka says "I'll cherish it," and promptly feeds it through a shredder.
- Mythology Gag: Most of the ones from London are retained here, including Charlie's "How'ja do" catchphrase (though it's downplayed due to "Almost Nearly Perfect" being cut). In addition, the Broadway version of "Vidiots" contains more lyrics from the original book's song for Mike's demise:So please, oh please, we beg and pray
To throw the phones and tech away
And in their place, you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall
- Named by the Adaptation: Oleg Salt and Ethel Teavee. Eugene Beauregarde is held over from the London staging.
- No Sympathy: Mike after Violet's explosion says he's bored and wants another kid to get killed. Everyone else gives him a dirty look.
- Obsessed with Food: Charlie admits he's obsessed with Willy Wonka's chocolate in his first number, "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!" He's considerably more desperate to visit the factory than in the London version, more upset to learn about the other kids finding the tickets, and his obsession with all things Wonka has even been distracting him at school.
- Opening Chorus: "The Candy Man" — while Willy Wonka does sing the first few verses solo, after the bridge (or during the bridge in the touring versions), the ensemble joins in.
- Parental Bonus and/or Shout-Out: Following in its London predecessor's footsteps (and holding over a few of the bonuses from that production), there are jokes that apply to either one or both of these tropes:Through the months and the years, other dull chocolatiers
Met their fate in the monsters' saliva
Poor Signor Ghirardelli now lines monster belly
With Herr Lindt and Lady Godiva
- As in London, "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet" is The Nutcracker with reversed sympathies, but the ballet motif is taken further on Broadway. Though the song itself is shortened, the sequence leading up to it is played out like a ballet with the giant costumed squirrels.
- The shows seen on the screens during "Vidiots" include clips of Tom and Jerrynote and Bugs Bunny, other Warner Bros.-owned properties. Visual nods to Super Mario Bros. and Flappy Bird are also seen.
- In "The View From Here," Mr. Wonka advises Charlie to "Take in this perfect speck of blue/And everything I give to you".
- At several performances, during "Strike That, Reverse It," Willy Wonka breaks out into song after drinking Mrs. Teavee's "homemade lemonade." The Broadway and Australian productions opted for Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You", while "We Don't Talk About Bruno" was often sung on the second US tour.
- Pass the Popcorn: While watching the TV coverage of the first two Golden Ticket finders, the disguised Mr. Wonka is eating popcorn.
- Pet the Dog: Mr. Beauregard, established as a Stage Dad and Attention Whore, genuinely praises Charlie for his idea with the radioactive lollipops as reading lamps for kids who have no electricity. He also looks insulted on Charlie's behalf when Mr. Wonka belittles the idea, only to steal it and make an order in bulk.
- Plot Hole: As broached in the New Yorker review, if Mr. Wonka's Glory Days are behind him and "only old people" buy his chocolate, why does the Golden Ticket contest instantly become Serious Business all over the world with all ages? On the other hand, the world has considered him good as dead for over forty years, so seeing him not only alive and well but offering a tour of his long-shuttered factory would understandably create buzz.
- Retool: Among other changes,
- The Four Bratty Kids are played by adult actors, leaving Charlie the only character played by an actual child.
- Three other songs from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory are interpolated into the score.
- The Climactic Music is the all-new "The View from Here" instead of "Pure Imagination", which is moved to the Chocolate Room scene; there are also four other new songs.
- From there, the U.S. and Australian touring productions changed out some of the set pieces (such as the entrance to Wonka's factory) and added another new song "That Little Man of Mine."
- Russian Girl Suffers Most: As noted above, Veruca's fate is the most gruesome: being torn limb from limb at the end of "Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet". It attempts to cross the line twice with the squirrels swinging her limbs and head around.
- Sausage String Silliness: Augustus and his mother swing around huge strings of sausages during their intro song, only further perpetuating their German stereotypes. Augustus even sings part of his solo with a sausage string on his neck.
- Secret Test of Character: Mr. Wonka goes out into the world disguised as a common shop owner to see if he can find someone who appreciates his chocolate. While he's annoyed that most people only buy the candy and leave the wrappers, he is touched that a small boy adores the chocolate itself and collects the rubbish. Mr. Wonka decides to take his idea and make an announcement on television about the contest, while secretly planning for Charlie to becoming his heir.
- Scenery Porn: The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre's exterior was decorated to appear to be the factory's. However the production itself averts this trope with far fewer, more minimalistic sets than in London. The subsequent touring productions go for a middle ground approach between the West End and Broadway sets, still keeping simple sets but bringing more life to the scenery via projections.
- Showstopper: "The View From Here", the Great Glass Elevator song, in addition to "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen."
- Social Media Before Reason: Mike and Violet display this throughout Act Two. When Augustus falls into the chocolate lagoon, Mike begins to film his downfall before Mrs. Teavee calls him out. He later tries to find a signal in the factory, leading Mr. Wonka to break his phone. In Violet's case, she asks her dad to film her tasting the Three-Course Meal gum.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Willy Wonka. In the West End version, he doesn't show up until the end of Act One. In this version he is the very first character the audience sees and maintains a King Incognito masquerade as a pop-up candy shop owner for most of the remainder of Act One. Charlie's "I Am" Song "Almost Nearly Perfect" is dropped in favor of him getting two songs ("Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!" and a reprise of "The Candy Man") about Mr. Wonka, and "A Little Me" is dropped in favor of "The View from Here", making Charlie's triumph significantly more subdued since nobody's around to celebrate it besides Wonka. Finally, aside from Mrs. Bucket and Grandpa Joe Charlie's family is Demoted to Extra or suffers Death by Adaptation (in the case of his dad), with Charlie finding out about the other winners at the candy shop instead of home, meaning still more stage time for Willy Wonka.
- Stunned Silence: All of the tour members— the remaining kids and their parents — are shocked for a full minute after Veruca is torn apart onstage. Even Wonka is horrified, if only for a second.
- Sweetheart Sipping: Turns up as a visual gag between Mr. Wonka and one of the Oompa-Loompas right after the "I agreed and we shook/With a chocolate [milk]shake" lines in "When Willy Met Oompa".
- Tempting Fate:
- "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" is a whole song of this for Mrs. Teavee.
- Ignoring Mr. Wonka's concerns about the Three-Course Meal gum, Violet snatches it from his hand and says, "I don't care about that, Wonka! I care about fame! And this stuff's gonna make me huge!" Indeed it does.
- The Theme Park Version: The libretto and staging are less nuanced and detailed than in the original London production.
- Mr. Beauregarde being the primary driver of Violet's stardom, happy to exploit her even in her distress, is largely eliminated thanks to "Juicy!" being cut. The upshot is that he gets Adaptational Heroism, though it doesn't do them any good.
- The dynamic between Mike Teavee and his mom is significantly different: In London she's clearly a broken Stepford Smiler driven to substance abuse because she's virtually on her own in trying to rein in her near-sociopathic son. In the New York Retool he's not nearly as destructive (there is a throwaway reference to him having an ankle monitoring bracelet, but that's all); instead, they're reflections of Eagleland Type 2 stereotypes of The New '10s as delineated in "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?", with the implication that she's deluded and proud of her obnoxious kid. The touring productions bring Mrs. Teavee back to her personality in London, as she once again is driven to substance abuse while she homeschools and straps her son to his chair to keep him out of trouble. Yet despite all this, she claims to be proud of "That Little Man of [Hers]."
- Swapping out Shaiman-Wittman songs which have a fair deal of Black Comedy for the more (pardon the pun) sugary numbers of the 1971 film and the elimination of such Foreshadowing as the Prince Pondicherry story makes the violent demises of the brats and Willy Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas' callousness a lot more shocking than in London, which apparently was not the creators' intention.
- The Scenery Porn is eliminated in favor of one or two representative set pieces for each setting, to the point that the Inventing Room is now just the Mixing Room because there's only one machine in it.
- With the elimination of "Simply Second Nature" Willy Wonka's For Happiness motivations are barely explored, while the subtext of his feeling betrayed by the world becomes text, making him far more misanthropic and hostile to others (even Charlie) than in London.
- Charlie himself is a less-rounded character; all of his imaginative exploits stem from his obsession with Mr. Wonka and his candy, whereas in the London version he regularly goes rubbish-picking at the dump to find things he and his family could use to improve their meager existences. In fact, if it weren't for "A Letter from Charlie Bucket" being retained, Charlie would come off as merely Obsessed with Wonka and His Food, and uninterested in anyone else's welfare.
- Too Much Information: During "Strike That, Reverse It" after Mr. Wonka notices Mrs. Teavee's 1950's-era attire, she notes that she was going to try wearing short shorts, but they rode up. Wonka's response is to Change the Uncomfortable Subject with a "Strike that, reverse it!"
- Trap Door: At the end of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen," Mr. Wonka sends the tour group down one inside his factory door. As Act 2 begins, a Bomb Whistle plays and once the scrim goes up, the cast (save for Wonka) is seen in a heap on the floor.Mr. Wonka: Nice of you to drop in!
- In the touring productions, Wonka doesn't make them disappear personally. The cast goes through the door unscathed, but still falls down into the factory per the Broadway production.
- Triumphant Reprise: "Strike That, Reverse It" is neutral when Mr. Wonka sings it at the top of Act Two, but received this treatment when reprised in the finale by Charlie in a scene cut in early previews. This left "The View From Here" as the final number and the phrase "Strike that, reverse it" is relegated to a Meaningful Echo at the end, once again by Charlie.
- "Charlie, You and I" is reprised three times at key moments, once by Grandpa Joe during "I've Got a Golden Ticket" and twice by Willy Wonka in "The View From Here".
- Verbal Business Card: "My name is Willy Wonka. I make chocolate" is the first spoken line of dialogue. (See Book Ends above.)
- Visible to Believers: The Maze of Deadly Traps, which takes place between the Inventing and Nut Rooms and replaces the run through the corridors in the West End version. The actors mime out the whole scene on stage, but they are still affected in-universe (Mike, in particular, suffers through the maze).
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Narrowly averted. In this version, Charlie's family members aside from Grandpa Joe disappear after Act One, but the closing scene has Mr. Wonka tell Charlie that they have been brought to and set up in the factory.
- White Man's Burden: The Oompa-Loompas are heavily implied to be from Central or South America. It's where the Theobroma cacao tree is native to and Mr. Wonka specifically notes he was seeking said tree out in "When Willy Met Oompa". He saved all of the Oompa-Loompas from the various monsters that plagued Loompaland — which they were apparently completely helpless to defend themselves against — by slaying them with his sword and then convinced them to come to his factory en masse and live there as his new workforce, and they took up the Happiness in Slavery offer. From there, "When Willy Met Oompa" has a stereotypically "Mexican" tune (with Mr. Wonka even shaking maracas at the end), the Oompa-Loompas in that number wear cacao-bean skirts, Mr. Wonka notes that "they hate wearing pants", and one of them uses a blowdart on Violet afterwards; all of this plays into "hapless natives" stereotypes. (Note that the London production went with Adaptation Explanation Extrication with regards to the Oompa-Loompas' backstory [see above] and didn't include this song at all, though it was originally written for it, while the U.K. tour simply has them be robots instead.)
- The World Is Just Awesome: Similar to "Pure Imagination" in the London staging, "The View From Here" is this for the Broadway and touring productions. Doubles as So Proud of You.Willy Wonka: So you could see the straits Magellan sailed,
The battlefields where good prevailed,
The pyramids, St. Peter's Dome,
The tiny house that you call home
- Worst News Judgment Ever: A candymaker whose Glory Days are decades behind him announces a contest to visit his factory. This is seen as warranting front page coverage in newspapers.
- The X of Y: The Maze of Deadly Traps.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: As the candy shop owner, Mr. Wonka teases Charlie with the possibility of a free candy bar each time they meet, but he never actually gives him one. He does, however, leaves behind a dollar so that Charlie can buy one from the old woman selling chocolate, and it's implied he slipped it into her bag since she's genuinely surprised at having one left.