Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway2 min read

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway: A Semi Sweet Delight

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I must admit that the Gene Wilder film that this loud spectacle of a musical is loosely based on is not one embedded in my childhood memory, nor is the Roald Dahl book that originated it all. I have memories of the classic film, but nothing as fondly as some.

So walking in to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and seeing the large silhouette of the iconic man on the curtain didn’t fill me with glee. I was as excited in the way that I always am when the lights dim and the show is about to start.


My friends and theatre companions have all witnessed my childlike enthusiasm that I’m grateful to say never seems to dissipate no matter how many shows I see in a week (and I have to admit, with the Tony deadline quickly approaching, my schedule is packed).

So there I was with my inner child clapping with excitement to see Willy Wonka take center stage.

And the musical theatre lover/geek that lives right along side that inner child happily joined in with the clapping because Wonka is being played by the always captivating Christian Borle (FalsettosSomething Rotten!). His opening number, “The Candy Man” (this song and “Pure Imagination“, the two best songs are written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the film), is like hot chocolate to the brain as he invites us into the land of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

And its true, general speaking, that the Candy Man makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious. This musical is as sweet and charming as can be, with a gleefully dose of wickedness that isn’t too dark or deadly (book: David Greig; Music: Marc Shaiman; lyrics: Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman).

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I wouldn’t say this show is made with love, as the song suggests, as it does have a corporate feel to the procedures, but it does make the world taste pretty darn good. It is true that some children die in this dark musical comedy, as we know they would on Wonka’s golden ticket tour, but it wouldn’t be Wonka with out a few naughty brats getting their comeuppance.

It is based on the slightly macabre story by Dahl, so it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, but I must admit those squirrels did make me gasp at one point. (for the full review: click here)