Oompa Loompas offer respite from serious concerns

Published 5:08 pm Friday, April 24, 2009

By Staff
The Oompa Loompas are coming to town.
No, they’re not affiliated with any political party.
In fact, as far as we can tell, they’ve had nothing to do with our economic recession, don’t know Barack Obama from Rush Limbaugh and don’t give a rat’s patootie whether PCS Phosphate receives an expansion permit.
If our memory serves us correctly, Oompa Loompas care exclusively about candy — and being cute.
They’ll bring that quality to the Turnage Theater on Saturday when the East Carolina University Storybook Theatre presents “Willy Wonka.” Though the musical (and previous film versions) target children, the whole family will enjoy the tale and take away from it valuable life lessons.
And it’s a couple of hours, beginning at 2 p.m., that will offer respite from the serious matters bombarding us every day.
The production features local performers, too.
McKenna Cox, a Washington High School graduate now attending ECU, has a dual role in the musical: She plays an older Oompa Loompa (don’t you just love that name?) and also the character Matilda.
Cox’s mom, Janet Cox, has choreographed the show, and her bite-sized dance students from Le Moulin Rouge de Danse portray Oompa Loompas in the show’s grand finale. Another local connection is Washington resident Patch Clark, who directs Storybook Theatre.
Storybook is in its 12th year and within the ECU School of Theatre and Dance. The troupe travels to area schools and stages shows at Wright Auditorium in Greenville.
We’re honored the group has chosen Washington to stage “Willy Wonka.” It’s one more reason to support the Turnage Theater — one of the jewels in Washington’s crown.
Tickets for the performance are $5 for children and $10 for adults. For information, call the Turnage Theater box office at 252-975-1191.