Actress Beth Kirkpatrick grew up watching “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” the 1971 movie starring Gene Wilder in the title role.
That film was based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” as was the 2005 movie with the same name as the book. So Kirkpatrick is thrilled to play Mrs. Gloop in Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the book-based touring musical coming to the Fox Theatre in Midtown Sept. 24 through 29 as part of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta series.
“For people of my generation and the generations below and above mine, we grew up with the (1971) movie. It was so magical and strange and funny and brings that childlike joy no matter what age you are,” she said. “I was so excited when they turned the book into a musical. The music we love, like ‘Pure Imagination,’ those songs, it was so great to bring those to life and still bring back all your favorite characters.”
In the musical, Charlie Bucket is one of five children who wins a golden ticket, which gives kids access to Willy Wonka and his magical chocolate factory. The musical debuted on the West End in London in 2013 and premiered on Broadway in 2017. Its U.S. tour started last year and its Sydney and Melbourne tour began earlier this year.
Actor Daniel Quadrino, who plays Mike Teavee, said the musical stands out “because it’s a story that is timeless and it’s something that everyone can relate to. It’s a story (that shows if) someone always does the right thing, that goodness will always prevail.”
Both thespians are acting veterans who live in New York when not on tour. Quadrino, a Long Island, New York, native, has been with the tour since its inception just over a year ago. Kirkpatrick, who hails from Cincinnati, joined the tour in August after touring with “Hello, Dolly!”
Kirkpatrick’s mother’s side of her family is from Atlanta, so she has made frequent trips here to visit family members and friends, including some actors who moved here for the state’s burgeoning TV/film industry. She previously performed at the Fox in 2012 when the “Les Miserables” tour came to town as part of the same series.
“Anytime you’re performing in a theater where you have friends and family in town, it’s the best feeling,” Kirkpatrick said. “One of the best things about the tour is you can travel around the country and see places and people you normally wouldn’t see if you were just doing the show on Broadway in New York. I’m very excited to have my aunts and uncles and cousins and new babies (coming to the show). So that’s always fun.”
For Quadrino, this is his first trip to Atlanta since 1996, when as a 6-year-old he came for the Olympics at a time when his father’s best friend from college lived here.
“I’m excited to return,” he said. “I have heard wonderful things (about the Fox). I can’t wait. … I’m just excited to bring this show there and spend a week there. We get to bring the show to a few more cities before we end our (tour’s) year run (in October).”
Quadrino said the musical is an updated version of the book that combines the best of the book and the two films, including a new score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the award-winning songwriters for “Hairspray.”
“We have really awesome special effects,” he said. “The way the Oompa Loompas are done is so exciting and we always get a great reaction from the audience when we introduce them. (The musical) … stays true to the book and everything we have from the Gene Wilder film. … It’s really fun time for everybody. It’s not just for kids. There’s jokes the kids won’t get but the parents will get.”
Said Kirkpatrick, “Just thinking about my time in Atlanta, it’s so fun to bring a show that is great for any generation to a city where I know people of every generation. My cousin has a 9-year-old son and he will be bringing him, and it will be his first musical. Nine-year-olds will be laughing their butts off and having a good time. Friends of my grandparents will be there and they’ll remember seeing the Gene Wilder movie in theaters.”
Tickets start at $35 and are available by visiting www.foxtheatre.org/charlie, calling 1-855-285-8499 or by going to the Fox box office (660 Peachtree St. NE in Atlanta). Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 404-881-2000.