Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle, who is currently starring in Something Rotten! and headlining the Broadway revival of Falsettos this autumn, will take on the lead role of Willy Wonka in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY next spring. Directed by Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, the reworked transfer of the hit London musical is set to begin perviews in March 2017 at the Lunt-Fontanne Teatre, currently home to Finding Neverland.
With two lead roles in the 2016-2017 season, Borle could potentially be up against himself at the 2017 Tony Awards.
“Christian was the first, and in truth, perhaps the ONLY person I could imagine to create the role of Willy”, O’Brien said in a statement. “His combination of child-like fantasy, edge, mystery, and sheer star power seemed destined for this role.”
Borle took home a Tony Award in 2015 for his performance as leather-clad Will Shakespeare in Something Rotten!. He also won in 2012 for Peter and the Starcatcher. His additional credits include Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins and Spamalot on Broadway and NBC’s Smash, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live! on screen.
Featuring a book by David Greig with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the musical is based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s book, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life- changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.
Dahl’s book was first adapted to the big screen in 1971 under the title Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. In 2005, Tim Burton directed a remake using the novel’s original title, with Johnny Depp playing Wonka.
Further casting will be announced at a later date. The production will feature scenic and costume design by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, puppet design by Basil Twist and orchestrations by Doug Besterman. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY officially opened at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 25th July 2013, starring Tony and Olivier winner Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka and helmed by Sam Mendes.