Christian Borle, a two-time Tony winner currently starring as William Shakespeare in Something Rotten! will play Willy Wonka next spring in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The show, transferring from London, will run at the Nederlander Organization’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where Finding Neverland is winding down its run to an August closing. A March 2017 start for Charlie is planned.
Before taking on Willy, Borle is also cast in the central role of Marvin in the upcoming Jujamcyn Theatres/Lincoln Center Theater co-production of William Finn and James Lapine’s Falsettos. The revival starts previews September 29 ahead of an October 27 opening at the Walter Kerr Theater.
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Sam Mendes’ Neal Street Productions are producing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which has music by Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by David Grieg and choreography by Tony nominee and Emmy winner Joshua Bergasse. Jack O’Brien, a multiple award winner who directed Wittman and Shaiman’s Hairspray, is directing the show; the London premiere was staged by Mendes (Skyfall, Spectre).
“Christian was the first — and in truth, perhaps the only person I could imagine to create the role of Willy,” O’Brien said in announcing the actor and the theater. “His combination of child-like fantasy, edge, mystery, and sheer star power seemed destined for this role.”
Also announced today, the design team for the show will include sets and costumes by five-time Tony nominee Mark Thompson (One Man, Two Guvnors; A Raisin in the Sun), lighting by four-time Tony nominee Japhy Weideman (Bright Star, The Visit), puppet design by Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Basil Twist (The Pee-Wee Herman Show, The Addams Family), and orchestrations by three-time Tony winner Doug Besterman (Aladdin, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella).