‘Oompa, Loompa, Doompety Doo’

‘Oompa, Loompa, Doompety Doo’

“Willy Wonka Jr.” is at Rocky Run Middle.


The cast of Rocky Run’s “Willy Wonka Jr.,” to be presented Thursday-Friday, April 18-19, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 20, at 2:30 and 7 p.m.


Willy Wonka (Marc Manaloto) is flanked by oompa loompas, (from left) Jean Bayer, Michael Mitchell, Briley Rickard and Jack Wood.

Get ready for oompa loompas and chocolate; Rocky Run Middle is presenting “Willy Wonka Jr.” The performance dates are Thursday-Friday, April 18-19, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 20, at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door and during school lunches.

There’s a cast and crew of 70, and Director Robyn Cuppett said Marc Manaloto, as Wonka, has no inhibitions. “I tell him to let loose and do something crazy and he does,” she said. “He’s just so funny, quirky and bubbly and interacts with the audience. They’ll love the characters, and all the actors are incredibly strong singers.”

Both Kaley Haller and Connor Cragg play Mike Teavee, Aly Waniel portrays Verucha Salt, Cassidy Milne is Violet Beauregard and Adam Lekang is Augustus Gloop. “We also have Eryn Meyer as a candy woman, Wonka’s secret assistant,” said Cuppett. “She’ll sing and tap dance to the song, ‘Candy Man;’ it’s going to be fabulous.”

The scenes take place at Charlie Bucket’s home and Wonka’s chocolate factory, and the oompa loompas have rainbow Mohawks and red pants. And, said Cuppett, “We have a great lighting and set designer, GMU grad Baron Pugh.”

Eighth-grader Marc Manaloto said Wonka has wild mood swings. “He’s all-knowing, but mysterious and secretive, and he has a plan for everything,” said Marc. “You don’t get an opportunity like this every day. I’m happy that all my hard work with Alliance Theatre and Westfield Summer Stage paid off. I love playing Willy because I do lots of weird, body movements and facial expressions and can be creepy, perky or happy anytime.”

Marc loves singing “Pure Imagination,” introducing the show and his character. And he enjoys talking with the audience because he likes “the freedom to do something different every time.” Overall, he said, “All the different characters really make this show a colorful rainbow of happiness.”

Portraying Charlie Bucket — who wins a visit to Wonka’s chocolate factory — is Siri Pellot. “He’s compassionate, worries about other people and helps everyone however he can,” said Siri. “He comes from a poor family, so you’re glad he finally gets what he deserves for all his years of kindness.”

Thrilled to have this role as a seventh-grader, Siri likes Charlie’s songs because “they’re about goodness and being positive and nice to people. My favorite is ‘Golden Ticket’ because it has choreography with flowing movements, so I’ll be all over the stage.” Siri said parents “will enjoy the show’s great lessons for their children, plus it’s good entertainment. They’ll be impressed with how good the production is.”

Classmate Andrew Dettmer plays Grandpa Joe. “Charlie looks up to him for guidance,” said Andrew. “He’s older, but still has a young personality and a kick to him. I have to use an old, scraggly voice and it’s a challenge to walk with a limp, but he has some funny lines.”

Andrew likes singing “The Burping Song” with Charlie because, “One minute, they fear for their lives, and the next minute, they’re burping.” He said the audience will like seeing the different cultures the visiting children represent, plus the show’s “great singers.”

Playing Mikey Teavee, as a girl, is eighth-grader Kaley Haller. “All she cares about is playing video games on her Game Boy and watching TV,” said Kaley. “She doesn’t want to pay attention to anything else and is disrespectful to her parents. I’m always on my iPhone, so I think I can play her well. But I’m not bossy and demanding like she is.”

Kaley likes singing, “I See It All on TV” because “it’s goofy and fun to sing about how Mikey just wants to stay in her little, fantasy land.” She said ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’ has more songs and dances than the original, “but it’s still the classic story everyone loves. And it teaches life lessons about being giving, caring and selfless.”