“Who can take the sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two?”
That was what organizers were set to find out during auditions recently for this summer’s production of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka.”
With the Cody Community Theater’s production set for June 25-28, the first thing that needs to be done is to set the show’s cast.
During auditions the morning of Feb. 29, a large group of children arrived for a chance to be blown up into blueberries, get shrunken down to a few inches and sucked into pipes.
While many adults were there to chaperone their children, many of them were also encouraged to audition themselves, not only because the show also needed adults, but because the directors wanted them to join in the fun everyone was having during the script reading.
“There were quite a few people who weren’t here before, that I haven’t seen come out for these kinds of things before,” choreographer Cindy Aune said. “It was really invigorating to have new people and have them try out.”
There were also a few children who wanted to play the Oompa Loompas and the nut-testing squirrels, who auditioned by learning a few dance steps or going up a ramp to toss a nut in a basket.
Jeremy Deroche accompanied his 4-year-old daughter Scarlett Nickell to the audition. He said it was his wife’s idea, but Scarlett would be less distracted if her father came.
“She was so nervous to audition, but when we got here and they were playing the songs, and she knows practically all of them, she loves Willy Wonka, it all made it so much easier for her,” Deroche said. “She is always dancing and singing at home, and we took her to the ‘Lion King Jr.’ performance, and she absolutely loved it. She really loves musicals and plays, so we thought this would be good for her.”
While hiding behind her father’s leg for a while, when asked if she enjoyed her audition she smiled and enthusiastically said, “Yes.”
The rest of the children and adults were instructed in vocal exercises before beginning vocal auditions. The vocal auditions were followed by a script-reading session with everyone having a chance to act in roles appropriate for their age and interest.
After auditions were finished, the show’s director Kathie McIsaac thanked everyone for their enthusiasm in coming to the auditions.
She said the auditions were the most stressful parts of a show, as not only were actors nervous and anxious during the process but all the directors also had a hard time choosing who gets what role.
“The thing to remember about this whole process is, as a community theater, we are first a community,” McIsaac said. “Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, other relatives and neighbors – we are all here because of how we can connect with one another. And it is together, as a community, that we can make a really great, really unique show to entertain everyone.”