VIRDEN — The "experienced" population out there probably knows the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Some are familiar with Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, while others recall "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," the 1971 musical film adaptation of Dahl’s book. Gene Wilder preformed the lead role of the eccentric Willy Wonka.
Younger people will know the plot due to the 2005 movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Johnny Depp took on the Willy Wonka role on that occasion.
Both young and old can recapture the spirit of the book and films by visiting Virden’s historic Aud Theatre for the musical presentation of "Willy Wonka Jr."
The Virden and District Youth Choir, under the direction of Cheryl Klassen, will perform the roles and songs composed by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, who incidentally composed the music and score for the 1971 film.
One of the songs made popular from the movie was "The Candy Man" sung by Aubrey Woods (Bill the candy store owner) in the 1971 movie.
Those who grew up in the 1970s might remember Sammy Davis Jr. made this song his trademark. This song, along with about 20 others, will be featured in "Willy Wonka Jr."
Aidan Heaman of Elkhorn will take on the challenge of two important roles, Willy Wonka and the Candy Man. His flamboyant style and strong voice will make his performance a memorable one.
Laurel Eslinger of Virden will perform the major role of Charlie Bucket, the youngster who, despite poverty, tries to "Think Positive," like one of the songs says. Her love and passion for acting and musical theatre will make her shine in this role.
The 33 voices from Moosomin, Reston, Elkhorn and Virden will keep the audience spellbound from the opening number of "Pure Imagination" to the grand finale. This is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear some up-and-coming local talent.
Showtimes are Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Aud Theatre.