First look at costume sketches from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy MusicalRoald Dahl is the new fad. First Matilda was made into an international juggernaut having opened to rave reviews and big sales in London’s West End and on Broadway , and now Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is prepping for its West End opening.

Press notes state, “Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical directed by Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes.

When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors and amongst the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.

Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Grammy® winners for Hairspray; Smash), a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig (The Bacchae; Tintin In Tibet), set and costume designs by Mark Thompson (Mamma Mia!; One Man, Two Guvnors) and choreography by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot The Musical; Matilda The Musical).

The show is to feature a chocolate garden, an army of squirrels and the curiously peculiar Oompa-Loompas and is choc-full of fantastical treats to dazzle your senses.

The musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will begin performances at London’s West End next month. The production has been tightly guarded and the elements have been kept as tight as state secrets. We however have sketches of the costume designs just for you..

Set and costume designer Mark Thompson commented to Vogue UK, “The look is based upon what the script demands. It’s to do with Roald Dahl and the rhythm of the musical. Costume design sketches aren’t usually something I do, but it was actually really nice to work with children. There are certain requirements of any costume – the cast members need to be able to dance easily. Things are altered as rehearsals go on.”

Three years in the making, with a set design which took 2 years to work on as Sam Mendes was busy with his Bond film Skyfall. The designs are all new and based on Thomspon’s interpretation of the book.

“It’s like fitting together a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “Willy Wonka is described very clearly in the book and I haven’t veered from that. With him, it was about choosing which colour purple, the shape of the suit, how long or short his tails should be, whether or not his shirt should have spots or stripes – small details. With Charlie, he’s obviously very poor. There’s very little colour, the costume is very drained almost.”

“I can’t tell you why yet, but there is a lot of puppetry involved,” Thompson said. “It’s about tricks of the eye. The whole thing has a feeling of yesterday, but there’s no specific time or period. I don’t know if I’ve captured the whimsical, magical nature of the plot yet – we’ll have to see how it’s received, but I have worked at capturing the wit of it all.”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory begins previews May 17, 2013 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Opening night is scheduled for June 25, 2013.

Here are the design sketches:

Grandma Georgina – Grandpa George

Grandpa George - Grandma Georgina

Grandpa George – Grandma Georgina

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