07 ellis playAUST/jj

Ellis Middle School spring play

What: Ronald Dahl’s "Willy Wonka Jr."

When: 7 p.m. April 10-11

Where: Ellis auditorium

How much: $5 for adults; $2 for students; free for children 5 and younger.


By Karen Colbenson

A sweet world full of quirks and surprises will come to life during Ellis Middle School’s student performance of Ronald Dahl’s "Willy Wonka Jr."

Based on the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," all the familiar ingredients will be sprinkled into the stage version of the classic candy-filled tale, including the race for the coveted Golden Ticket; the peculiar Oompa-Loompas; four greedy, spoiled children; the indigent but earnest Charlie Bucket; and the eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka.

Eighth-grader Martha McDermott will play the wealthy, bratty Veruca Salt; seventh-grader Mollie Eich will play the gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde; seventh-grader Thomas Mueller will play television junky Mike Teavee; and seventh-grader Michael Molitor will play over-eater Augustus Gloop.

Charlie Bucket is being played by sixth-grader Michael Kroyman, and playing the part of Willy Wonka is eighth-grader Dylan Kaercher.

"They are fantastic," said director Erin Schoen. "They are really talented kids. It’s really amazing at their age what an exceptional job they do."

The elaborate set, constructed by liaison officer Mark Walski, is built six feet high, according to Schoen.


"It’s the biggest set we’ve ever used," she said.

According to Schoen, about 90 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students are involved in the show. Julie Walski is the co-director.

Tickets will be on sale at the door.

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