Broadway ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ to Launch in March with Christian Borle

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the large-scale musical from Warner Bros. Theater Ventures, has locked in its Broadway details, with Christian Borle starring in a production that begins a run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in March 2017.

Borle, who’s won Tony Awards for his performances in “Something Rotten!” and “Peter and the Starcatcher,” will play Willy Wonka in the musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl tale. The part was originated by another Tony winner, Douglas Hodge, in London, where the musical opened in June 2013 and is set to close in early January.

The Broadway iteration of “Charlie” is expected to look somewhat different from the London staging. Sam Mendes, the “Skyfall” and “Spectre” director behind the West End production, departed the project late last year, citing scheduling difficulties. (He’s still on board as a producer with his company Neal Street Productions.)

Director Jack O’Brien (“The Coast of Utopia,” “It’s Only a Play”) signed on to fill Mendes’ shoes, reteaming with songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman after working with them on “Hairspray” and “Catch Me If You Can.” The team, along with book writer David Greig, will do some tinkering with the show in the run-up to the March bow.

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Also on board the Broadway production are downtown puppeteer (and Broadway veteran of “The Addams Family” and “The Pee-wee Herman Show”) Basil Twist, who’ll handle puppet design for “Charlie,” as well as Joshua Bergasse (choreography), Mark Thompson (sets and costumes) and Japhy Weideman (lights).

Produced by Warner Bros. Theater Ventures (Mark Kaufman), Langley Park Productions (Kevin McCormick) and Neal Street (Mendes and Caro Newling), “Charlie” will move into the theater soon to be vacated by “Finding Neverland,” which recently announced it will shutter in August. Further details about the Broadway “Charlie,” including further casting and the date of its opening night, remain to be set.


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