At workshop, children learn all aspects of putting on a stage performance
Published in the July 23 – August 5, 2014 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Staff Report
The classic Roald Dahl story of a young boy’s adventure in a mysterious chocolate factory was brought to life by local children at the Morgan Hill Playhouse with the presentation of the musical “Willy Wonka” as part of a week-long summer theater workshop.
The role of the young hero Charlie Bucket was played by 8-year-old Maya King. She enjoyed performing in the 45-minute musical based on Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The play tells the story about children who find golden tickets in chocolate bars that give them and a parent access into Wonka’s strange world of Oompa-Loompas and squirrels that manufacture confectionery.
“The best part of being in a play is being backstage and on the stage with your friends,” King said. “I have a lot of fun. I have other things I love doing but this is one of the things I really love to do — just be in another character’s shoes.”
King admitted that when she first read the script, she found one particular song uncomfortable to perform — “The Burping Song” that saves Charlie and his grandfather from the peril of floating up into spinning ceiling blades.
“I don’t like to burp,” she said. “My whole family knows how to do it on purpose. I’ve got a 4-year-old brother who does it, but I’m the only one who doesn’t.”
Oddball chocolate entrepreneur Willy Wonka was played by 13-year-old Rachel Kogan who said this is the 21st show for her as a performer.
“Willy Wonka is such an amazing role and he’s so interesting to play because he has so many aspects to him,” she said. “One is he’s a murderer psychopath who likes killing off children. And on the other side, he’s sort of a father-figure for Charlie at the end.”
The show was directed by Morgan Hill resident Carol Romo who runs a business teaching theater arts to children in Campbell, Morgan Hill and Gilroy as well as home school. In the Morgan Hill workshop for “Willy Wonka,” students rehearsed for five days. On the first day they auditioned for parts and were cast. The second day, they started blocking the show and working on choreography. The third day, the students got their costumes and started making the sets. Many of the parents helped in the preparation of the play. The children performed at free shows at The Playhouse July 11 and July 12.
“Willy Wonka” is an excellent show to give children a first taste of performing on stage, Romo said.
“The play is very melodic, very easy for the kids to remember the songs,” she said. “It’s very colorful. A lot of cast members, and I just love it. I’ve done it many times before and I know it will work.”
Building confidence and making friends are two benefits children get as they have fun working on putting a play together, she said.
“Kids love it. They love to be on stage,” Romo said. “Those who haven’t been on stage before, it’s a new experience and it’s fun to see them blossom. Everybody at some point has to get up on a podium or stage or platform, you know, making a school presentation. This gives them more poise and confidence.”
Romo will be doing a “big production” of “The Wizard of Oz” in Gilroy in September, and she encourages Morgan Hill young people to get involved in the show.
“Theater is its own little world, and once you discover it, you’ll ask, ‘Where has this been all my life?’” she said.
The cast of “Willy Wonka” consisted of Rachel Kogan as “Willy Wonka” and “Candy Man,” Maya King as “Charlie Bucket,” Abhishek Krishnan as “Mr. Bucket,” Sarah Supnet as “Mrs. Bucket,” Ruhan Israni as “Grandpa George,” Leah Twesten as “Grandma Josephina,” Maggie Middleton as “Grandma Georgina,” James Duquette as “Grandpa Joe,” Becca Snook, Alex West, Leah Twesten, Sierra McKenna, Ruhan Israni as “Candy Man Kids,” Alyna Vasquez as “Matilda,” Patrick Summers as “James,” Christian Kayhan as “Phineous Trout,” Ben Snook as “Augustus Gloop,” Kyle Kayhan as “Mr. Gloop,” Sydney Tarr as “Veruca Salt,” Nicky Israni as “Mr. Salt,” Jenna Hernandez as “Violet Beauregarde,” Alyna Vasquez as “Mrs. Beauregarde,” Becca Snook as “Mike Teavee,” and Brook Conragan as “Ms. Teavee.” The Oompa-Loompas were played by Sarah Supnet, Patrick Summers, Maggie Middleton, Ruhan Israni, Alex West, Leah Twesten, James Summers, and Aakash Krishnan.