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North Warren students to present Willy Wonka musical

CHESTERTOWN - For weeks dozens of young students at North Warren School have been singing, gesturing and cavorting onstage as they practice the familiar songs, dances and dialogue associated with everybody's favorite chocolate baron, Willy Wonka.

They've been rehearsing the musical Willy Wonka Jr. which is set to come to life at 7 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24 in the North Warren Central auditorium. There is no admission charge.

Recently, while several sixth graders practiced their routines in the stage, production director Joanne Paulson offered a comment on how much the children were enjoying the experience delving into their roles.

"They're so familiar with the story and characters, and they're all having a lot of fun," she said.

"Sometimes too much fun," Paulson added in jest.

Whether it's experiencing the silly antics of Oompah-Loompahs - candy factory workers - or the off-kilter mind-set of Willy Wonka, folks who enjoy fanciful musicals are bound to be delighted, Paulson said.

About 50 children in grades 5 through 8 have been practicing their roles in Willy Wonka Jr. during after-school sessions since January , she said.

Colorful, fanciful sets have been created by North Warren High School Art Teacher Polly Towers and the high school art students, Paulson said. Serving as technical director is Jeff Conkey. The vibrant, creative costumes were fashioned by Darlene Schaefer and Jessica LaFountain, she said.

"When you want to have a great show, get a great staff together - and that's what we have."

Performing leading roles are 8th Grader Dan Hill as Willy Wonka, 5th Grader Kali LaFountain as Charlie, and 7th Grader Grant Cooper as Grandpa Joe.

All in the area are invited to attend.

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