“Willy Wonka KIDS” hits Turnage Stage Saturday

Published 7:13 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

A golden ticket is only a drive to the Turnage Theatre away this weekend, as Bath Elementary School presents two performances of “Willy Wonka KIDS” on Saturday. Telling the classic story of Charlie Bucket, Willy Wonka and the magical chocolate factory, the 45-minute production has been five months in the making.

“It’s a good way to start kids in theater because its not a full-on production,” said play director and BES English teacher Leanna Holmes. “We’ve been practicing since September when we had auditions for fourth, fifth and sixth graders. We had 50 kids audition this year and we took 30.”

For Bath Elementary, this is the fourth stage play in as many years. Other performances included “Annie KIDS,” “Aladdin KIDS” and a 1950s montage called “At the Bandstand.” For Holmes, who has always had a passion for theater, the plays have been a way to pass that love on to a new generation.

“It’s something I’ve always been passionate about and there wasn’t a musical theater program at Bath, so that’s something I wanted to get going,” Holmes said.

After months of practice, the kids are ready to perform. The group held dress rehearsals starting Wednesday at the Turnage, with full lights, sound and costumes. With lines and cues memorized, and musical numbers just in key, the students have put considerable effort into the play. All that remains is for the curtain to rise on Saturday.

“It’s another outlet for students who maybe aren’t involved in sports or have other interests,” Holmes said. “It’s important that kids know they don’t have to be an A-plus student to do something very well, or have to be the best baseball player to shine. There’s other talents in the school and we need to showcase them for every student.”

Audiences will have two opportunities to enter the world of pure imagination and see what the candy man can do on Saturday, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. and an evening performance at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 and will be on sale an hour before the performance. Concessions will be available.