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‘Willie Wonka’ has your golden ticket for weekend entertainment


NATCHEZ — The Natchez Little Theatre is staging a real treat this weekend.

Saturday is opening night for the theatre’s 71st Season, and what could be the sweetest summer youth production ever as young actors portray adults and their children who have won golden tickets to a magical chocolate factory.

Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday and all tickets are $20 each.

Christine Borum, president of the Natchez Little Theatre Board of Directors, said children and youths, ages 18 and younger, have worked through the month of June to put on an unforgettable adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” called “Willie Wonka Jr.”

The show stars Cathedral Elementary School 3rd-grader Quin Branton as Charlie and Robert Lewis Magnet School seventh-grader Joseph Simmons as Willie Wonka.

“Children in our Summer Youth Workshop have been working since June 3 all of this month,” Borum said. “They have been working at the theatre Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every one of those days, and they are wonderful. It’s going to be great for everyone who watches them.”

Director, Devin Klugh said “Willie Wonak Jr.” is her second production at the little theatre since her directing debut in the winter production of “Mary Poppins.” However, her involvement in theatre dates back to her first stage appearance when she was just 5 years old, and she went on to practice choreography at the University of Georgia before earning her master’s degree in educational theatre at New York University, Klugh said.

Klugh is now pursuing her Ph.D. while directing, acting and teaching dance at Bluff City Creative in Natchez, she said.

Next up this season on Aug. 8 through 11 is the “Mississippi Medicine Show,” Borum said, featuring musician Burnley Cook who would set the mood on stage with live music in the background, Borum said.

“Burnley Cook did that years ago,” Borum said, “and he has come back to play with us again this year.”

Tickets are available online at natchezlittletheatre.com.