The Hollywood Bowl seems to be heading on a culture revivalist streak, after bringing The Muppets back into the public consciousness with a recent live concert series. The premier venue plans to give California-based nostalgics another hit of their drug of choice, having just announced a new concert based on the 1971 kids’ classic Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.
And not just any old Willy Wonka; the 1971 Warner Bros. kids’ classic film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factor” will be getting the live-in-concert treatment this November 3 and 4 with “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory In Concert at the Hollywood Boal: A Live-to-Film Celebration.”
As is expected, the star-power behind this project is phenomenal; John Stamos as Wonka himself, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard, all signing on to offer up their versions of the movie’s songs.
Some of the who’s-doing-what can be figured out. Stamos as Wonka will be lending his manic smile and big shiny teeth to a turn on “Pure Imagination.” Weird Al, meanwhile, will voice the Oompa-Loompas in their various shenanigans, and Wolfhard, who has been on a streak lately, will be playing the chocolate-hungry moppet Charlie Bucket himself.
Other characters include Giancarlo Esposito as “Candy Man,” Elle King as the odious Veruca Salt singing “I Want It Now,” Richard Kind as a “kind” Grandpa Joe, and Ingrid Michaelson as Mrs. Bucket, along with a selection of special guests performers showing up on different nights.
Musical numbers from the Oscar-nominated score by Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse, and Walter Scharf including “The Candy Man,” “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket,” and “Oompa-Loompa Doompadee-Doo” will be performed live onstage accompanied by multi-instrumental band DeVotchka and a musical ensemble conducted by Jeff Hoeppner. DeVotcka’s Nick Urata will also serve as music director for the show.
The show will be presented in Smell-O-Rama, which means attendees will be presented with exclusive Scratch-N-Sniff Golden Tickets. The concert will also feature a factory of treats, including a costume contest and special projections on the surface of the Bowl created by acclaimed painter, designer, and illustrator Shag.
“Willy Wonka is the first movie I ever saw,” said Stamos. “The film was released at a time when you could bring your own popcorn to the movie theater. I filled a whole grocery bag full of popcorn, but never touched it because I was so fascinated with what was going on behind Willy’s eyes. Gene Wilder as Willy was pure magic. Every time I watch the movie, and I’ve watched it more than several hundred times, I find something new. It becomes deeper, weirder, more charming and more of a mystery.”
Photo Credit: Pamela Lin