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Get your golden tickets for Willy Wonka Jr.

MEET “CAST B” OF WILLY WONKA JR. – Back Row (from left) Luke Auchter, Brooke Boger, Emily Baumgartner, Sierra White, Dylan Koss, Tori Spring, Brooke Viviano, Anna Angelo, Amber Soukup, Maddie Morris and Morgan Grant. Front Row (from left) Kira Warda, Elise Godfryd, Clare Godfryd, Izaak Ossege, Emma Gordon and Alyson Walters. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
June 09, 2010 - Oompa Loompa doompadee doo, some elementary students are putting on a musical for you.

Super Singers from Clear Lake and Oxford elementaries will present their production of "Willy Wonka Jr." at the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center on Friday, June 11 at 7 p.m. and again on Saturday, June 12 at 2 p.m.

"It's the first musical we've done at this scale," said music teacher Peggy Mueller, who leads the Super Singers, which are made up of fourth- and fifth-graders. "I was involved in (the high school production of) 'Annie' last year and had so much fun. I wanted to take that experience to the elementary level."

"Willy Wonka Jr." is a blend of the 1964 book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl and the two movies it spawned – the 1971 classic "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" starring Gene Wilder and the 2005 film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" starring Johnny Depp.

Mueller is a big fan of the 1971 movie.

"It's one of my most favorite films," she said. "I think it has a great message too."

In the story, bad children are punished for their vices and misbehavior, while the main character, Charlie, is rewarded at the end for being a well-mannered and kind lad.

Approximately 100 students are participating in the musical, which will be performed by two casts.

Cast A takes the stage Friday night, while Cast B will enjoy the spotlight Saturday afternoon.

Having two casts gives the understudies a chance to shine.

Overall, Mueller's very impressed with her students' commitment and abilities

"They've been doing an outstanding job," she said. "They've been coming prepared. They've really kind of exceeded my expectations as far as their work ethic.

"Their singing and their acting is just phenomenal. They're really enthusiastic about it. It's just been tons of fun."

Although she's been working with most of the students for five or six years as their music teacher, Mueller's been "pleasantly surprised" in some cases by the level of talent she's watched "shine through" and "take flight" since rehearsals began back in January.

"It's been awfully cool to watch them really pushing themselves and grow through the production," she said. "That's the most rewarding part – seeing the kids take off and show me a side of their personality I didn't really know."

Tickets for "Willy Wonka Jr." are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Oxford students accompanied by adults are free.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the OHS Performing Arts Center box office one hour before each performance.

Prior to each performance, Willy Wonka candy will be on sale to enjoy during the show. Sales will go toward financing next year's Super Singer production.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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