Kids Produce Willy Wonka as the Act Against Cancer

The story is timeless, the music is memorable, and thanks to Debut Theatre’s young management, this performance will live in our hearts forever. On September 23, people poured into the auditorium of the Chesterfield YMCA for Willy Wonka Jr. produced by Debut Theatre. 

Debut Theatre is a special kind of company. It’s completely owned and operated by kids. The shows they produce are directed, designed, performed, and produced by children. With the help of their dedicated parents, these kids have built their own theatre company and their mission is to “act against cancer.” What this means is that all of their shows are free to the public but in return they ask for donations which are then given to Pedal the Cause.

These kids have worked so hard to put this show together. They have spent the last year perfecting the blocking, the dance moves, and the vocals to deliver an incredible performance to their audience. They have spent countless hours making the scenery and making the show the best it can be. Because of that, they performed an amazing show.

Of course, the show wasn’t without it’s imperfections. Due to limited time in the auditorium to prepare for the show, the sounds wasn’t quite up to par and for most of the show, it was hard to hear the dialogue and vocals. The company still remained professional as they did their best to project their voices and tried lowering the volume of the music so the vocals could be hear. With that said, these kids should be beaming with pride for the work they have done.

The cast was lead by Patrick Blanner as the iconic Willy Wonka. His portrayal of the character was flawless. He possessed the charisma and humor that is so famous of the role. Katherine Wheeles took on the role of Charlie and her innocent and sweet nature gave the role a perfect blend that warmed your heart. Many of the young actors played numerous roles. Some of my favorite parts were those of the Grandparents. Aspen Hale (Grandpa Joe), Natalie Lovell (Grandma Josephine), Tyler Hawatmeh (Grandpa George), and Jordan Wright (Grandma Georgina) had such incredible comedic timing for such a young age. And finally, Divinity Wright played the role of Cherry Sundae. Although the role was small, she brought such humor and had the audience rolling.

Photo provided by Debut Theatre

If you have not done so, I urge everyone to keep an eye on this group of talented kids and attend their next production. This is the next generation of Directors, Producers, Theatre Technicians, and Actors that will lead our amazing community into the future. They not only need but deserve our love and support as they move forward. Make a connection with them, offer them advice, lend a hand, do whatever you can to help them succeed and show St. Louis how amazing our Theatre Community really is.

To the kids of Debut Theatre, I look forward to the future of YOUR company and St. Louis Limelight Magazine is here to help. We will see you soon!

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