'Willy Wonka' Coming to Pinehurst
By Tom Bryant
Special to The Pilot
Still looking for that golden ticket? You may be in luck.
Willy Wonka and his magical candy factory are making a special appearance at Pinehurst Elementary School on March 16 and 17 at 7 p.m.
The classic musical, based on the iconic 1971 movie, will be performed by West Pine Middle School students and directed by Marci Houseman, choral and drum teacher at West Pine Middle.
The cast, crew, and set builders have been working since January on the production, and Houseman says the show offers more than just fun for the students and audience.
"I think the most important skill gained from being in a theatrical production is self-confidence," she says. "Regardless of the number of scenes they are in, when this show is over, students will know that they can stand in front of people with confidence. These students are also learning to collaborate and create - two essential skills for school as well as life."
Proceeds from ticket sales are used to fund the choral and drum programs at West Pine Middle School. Drums are purchased through the Africa Heartwood Project, a nonprofit organization that assists African craftsmen in developing a sustainable business with their handmade crafts.
Tickets will be sold in the West Pine Middle School lobby through Friday, March 16, before and after normal school hours. Tickets are $7 each, and all seats are reserved.
Seventh-grade cast member Ashlynn Fitzgerald says participating in the play hasn't been all fun and games.
"Rehearsals have been more work than I thought it would be, but it's been more fun than I thought it would be. I've learned more than I thought I would," said Fitzgerald, who plays the role of Mrs. Gloop.
Houseman says the support of area businesses and families has been vital in making the show a reality. Several area individuals and businesses have become show sponsors, donating money to defray the cost of sheet music, set materials, lighting and sound, and costumes.
Dr. Rick Saunders, Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Egbe, Dr. Russell B. Stokes, The Seven Lakes Prescription Shoppe, Dr. Jennifer Massey, the Mann family, The Women's Care Center at Pinehurst Surgical, Dr. Michael Henry, A & J Janitorial Services, Specialty Pharmacy, Pinehurst Computer Support, and the Pinehurst Area Swim Team have all contributed to making the show a reality.
Additionally, local restaurants including Little Caesar's Pizza, Subway and Chick-fil-A have contributed meals for the cast during their extensive rehearsals.
When asked what audience members can expect to see on opening night, Houseman was unwilling to spoil the surprise.
"I can't give anything big away, but I'm pretty sure the audience is going to love Willy Wonka's candy-making machine," Houseman says. "Those coming to the show should be prepared to purchase candy from our very own Wonka store. A lucky few will find their own golden tickets and will win a private backstage tour following the show."
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