'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Musical Confirmed for Spring 2017 on Broadway
As expected, three-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien will step in to stage the revamped production, following the exit of original director Sam Mendes.
It will have taken almost four years by the time it opens, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory finally has a Broadway date, with the musical Roald Dahl adaptation set to begin performances in spring 2017.
As previously reported, Sam Mendes, who directed the version that opened in London's West End in summer 2013, has exited the production, citing scheduling difficulties. The revamped Broadway version of the Willy Wonka tale will now be staged by three-time Tony winner Jack O'Brien.
Original choreographer Peter Darling is also out due to other commitments. O'Brien has brought on board new choreographer Joshua Bergasse, an Emmy winner for his work on NBC's Smash and a Tony nominee for the recent Broadway revival of On the Town.
"Sam and I have both spent our careers putting our personal spin on classics, be it William Shakespeare or Roald Dahl," said O'Brien. "Since the first production was created for London, it's only fair we do an American version. And in America, our connection is to the 1971 movie and the indelible impression of Gene Wilder as the slyly wicked Wonka."
"The score will pay homage to the beloved Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley songs that are integral to the American relationship to the story, combined with all new songs crafted by the American team," continued O'Brien. "There is room for both of these talented voices in one classic to tell our version of the story, as long as the story stays eternal and true."
The original score for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is by composer Marc Shaiman, who co-wrote the lyrics with Scott Wittman. O'Brien has a long association with Shaiman and Wittman, having worked with the team on Hairspray and Catch Me If You Can. The book for Charlie has been adapted by Scottish dramatist David Greig.
While the London production opened to mixed reviews, the show is now in its fourth and final year at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where it has broken house records and has been seen by 1.8 million people.
Mendes remains on board the Broadway run as a producer with Caro Newling through their Neal Street Productions banner, alongside Mark Kaufman for Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Kevin McCormick for Langley Park Productions.
The cast and design team, as well as theater and exact dates, have yet to be announced. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will mark the second musical adaptation of a Dahl novel to come to Broadway in recent years, following the Royal Shakespeare Company's hit Matilda, which opened in spring 2013 and has grossed $160.8 million to date.