Friday, September 29, 2023

SAVE THE DATES: Paramount Presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory November 8, 2023-January 14, 2024

 ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List

Oompa Loompas, oodles of fun and other surprises await audiences at Paramount's 
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
receiving its Professional Regional Premiere 
November 8, 2023-January 14, 2024

Character sketches by Ryan Park, costume designer, 
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Here at ChiIL Mama we love the magic and creativity of live theatre. We love to peek behind the curtains at the process, and checking out Ryan Park's sketches, we're already getting excited to see how the sausage gets made... or the chocolate, as the case may be!

Where else do so many areas of the arts collide, to make epic story telling possible. We're also big fans of making fun family memories together. Experiential gifts like tickets to a family friendly musical, make for great clutter busting gift ideas for the holidays. 

Step behind the gates and discover the magic that awaits when Aurora’s Paramount Theatre presents the Professional Regional Premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, November 8, 2023-January 14, 2024. Opening Night is Friday, November 17 at 8 p.m. 

Follow young Charlie Bucket, his Grandpa Joe and four more Golden Ticket winners on a private tour of eccentric “Candy Man” Willy Wonka’s magical and mysterious chocolate factory. Who will win the lifetime supply of chocolate? Experience their life-changing journey through a world of “Pure Imagination," revealed with Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas. 

Trent Stork, Paramount’s Artistic Producer and Casting Director, and winner, Jeff Award, Director-Musical-Large, for Paramount’s Kinky Boots in 2022, and their design team are planning a high-energy, technicolor production performed on a dazzling set designed by Jeffrey D. Kmiec, with choreography by Kasey Alfonso, music direction by Kory Danielson and costumes by Ryan Park

Before audiences even step into the theater and see the amazing set, Paramount’s Grand Gallery will be fully decked out for the holidays, anchored by a two-story, Willy Wonka-themed Christmas tree, the perfect backdrop for pre-show holiday season selfies. 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is your golden ticket for a scrumdiddlyumptious holiday outing for the whole family at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. Single tickets, $28-$79, are on sale now, or save with a Paramount Theatre three-play Broadway Series subscription package. 

Welcome to a world of pure imagination: Paramount’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is based on the beloved 1964 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The musical features an original score composed by Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) and a book by David Greig

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also pays homage to the original score by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley including favorites like "Candy Man," "I've Got a Golden Ticket," "Oompa Loompa Song" and "Pure Imagination." 

The musical premiered on London’s West End in 2013 where it ran for more than three years and earned seven Laurence Olivier Award nominations, including Best New Musical. It premiered on Broadway in 2017, ran for nine months, and was followed by two national tours. 

Paramount Theatre’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stars (top, from left) Charlie Long and Meena Soodalternating as Charlie Bucket, (middle, from left) Stephen Schellhardt as Willy Wonka, Gene Weygandt as Grandpa Joe, David Blakeman as Augustus Gloop, Abby C. Smith as Mrs. Gloop, Devon Hayakawa as Veruca Salt, Jason Richards as Mr. Salt, (bottom, from left) August Forman as Mike Teavee, Heidi Kettenring as Mrs. Teavee, Tiffany T. Taylor as Violet Beauregarde, Lorenzo Rush Jr.
as Mr. Beauregarde and Jaye Ladymore as Mrs. Bucket. 

For Paramount’s Professional Regional Premiere, two super talented child performers - Charlie Long and Meena Sood - will alternate in the role of Charlie Bucket. Long played Kurt last season in Paramount’s The Sound of Music and rocked out as Billy and in the ensemble of School of Rock. Sood made her Paramount debut last spring in School of Rock as Shonelle, and she stepped into the role of class factotum Summer Hathaway for several performances.

Paramount’s principal cast for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory includes Stephen Schellhardt as Willy Wonka, Gene Weygandt as Grandpa Joe, David Blakeman as Augustus Gloop, Abby C. Smith as Mrs. Gloop, Devon Hayakawa as Veruca Salt, Jason Richards as Mr. Salt, August Formanas Mike Teavee, Heidi Kettenring as Mrs. Teavee, Tiffany T. Taylor as Violet Beauregarde, Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Mr. Beauregarde and Jaye Ladymore as Mrs. Bucket. 

Ensemble members are Terrell ArmstrongLexie BaileyBrian BanduraMatthew BettencourtBen BroughtonLydia BurkeMorgan DiFonzoEvan C. DolanNick DruzbanskiAlley EllisJared David Michael GrantDakota HughesMichael LunderJessica MinterSara ReineckeNellie ShufordAllison Sill, Ayana Strutz and Matthew Weidenbener.

Trent Stork

Director Trent StorkParamount’s Artistic Producer and Casting Director, won their first Jeff Award, Director-Musical-Large, for Paramount’s Kinky Boots in 2022. Stork also helmed last season’s blockbuster productions ofSchool of Rock, and Into the Woods with co-director Jim Corti. 

Stork’s production team includes Kasey Alfonso, choreographer; Kory Danielson, music director, conductor and music supervisor; Jeffrey D. Kmiec, scenic designer; Ryan Park, costume designer; Greg Hofmann, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthalsound designer; Paul Deziel, projection designer; Jesse Gaffney, prop designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Max Fabian, fight and intimacy director; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; Amanda Raquel Martinez, assistant director; Maria Blanco, associate choreographer; Celia Villacres, associate music director and associate conductor; Jaci Entwisle, stage manager; and Amber R. Dettmers and Erin Nicole Eggers, assistant stage managers.

Times, dates and ticket information

Previews start November 8. Opening Night is Friday, November 17 at 8 p.m. Performances run through January 14: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Run time is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes with intermission. 

Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until show time on show days. For group discounts, contact Melissa Striedl, or (630) 723-2461. 

Exceptions/added performances

No 1:30 p.m. matinee Wednesday, November 8. No shows Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23 and Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24. Added holiday matinees are Friday, November 24 and Friday, December 22 at 3 p.m., and Thursday, December 28 at 1:30 p.m.
Pay What You Can Performances

Paramount will offer two Pay What You Can performances of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Thursday, November 9 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, November 11 at 3 p.m. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount box office in-person to request tickets. Limit four per person. Subject to availability. See for details. 

Access Services

Paramount offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device.

Paramount will offer opening captioning on Wednesday, January 3 at 1:30 p.m., and American Sign Language interpretation on Friday, January 5 at 
8 p.m. 

If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or in advance.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is sponsored by Rush Copley Medical Center and Jakes Inc. Paramount Theatre Broadway Season sponsors include the Dunham Foundation, the City of AuroraBMO Harris BankComEd and the Illinois Arts Council

What’s next in Paramount’s 12th Anniversary Broadway Series?

Join the growing ranks of Aurora’s Paramount Theatre, the largest subscription-based theater in the U.S. Three-play packages including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Billy Elliot: The Musical (February 7-March 24, 2024) and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (April 24-June 16, 2024) are also on sale, starting at $50.40.

Plus two BOLD Series shows, right across the street at Paramount’s Copley Theatre

In addition, Paramount second BOLD Series continues across the street in Paramount’s Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., with the recent Off-Broadway sensation What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck (October 4-November 12, 2023), and Tennessee Williams’s classic drama A Streetcar Named Desire (March 13-April 21, 2024). 
For tickets, subscriptions and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or visit the Paramount box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until show time on show days. 
About Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. The beautiful, 1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur, has been downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction since 1931.

After launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount Theatre has rapidly grown to be the largest subscription house in the U.S. In 2022-23, more than 35,000 subscribers enjoyed Paramount’s critically acclaimed, Broadway-caliber productions, along with an array of internationally known comedians, musicians, dance troupes and family shows.

For over 50 years, the Joseph Jefferson Awards has recognized excellence in Chicago area theater. Last season, Paramount took home six Jeff Awards for Kinky Boots, including Best Musical-Large, Paramount’s fourth win in that category following Sweeney Todd (2017), West Side Story (2016) and Les Misérables (2015). Over the last 11 years, Paramount has been honored to earn 115 Jeff nominations and 27 wins. 

Paramount Theatre is one of four live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA). Paramount’s “sister stage” is the 165-seat Copley Theatre, home to Paramount’s BOLD Series, across the street at North Island Center. ACCA also oversees RiverEdge Park, the city’s 6,000-seat outdoor summer concert venue, Stolp Island Theatre, an immersive space opening in 2024, and the Paramount School of the Arts.

Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals.

For the latest updates, visit or follow @paramountaurora on Facebook, and Instagram, and Paramount Theatre on LinkedIn.           

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