Colin Murdy plays the lead role of Willy Wonka in a show that opens March 2.Colin Murdy plays the lead role of Willy Wonka in a show that opens March 2.

Two full casts of students representing nearly all majors will perform Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, March 2-5, in the Todd Wehr Auditorium on the university’s Mequon campus, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive.

The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2-Saturday, March 4, with a 1:30 p.m. matinee scheduled Sunday, March 5.  Tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $5 for veterans, $3 for children ages 5-12 and FREE for children under 5.

Professor Lori Woodall-Schaufler will direct the production, based on the 1971 musical, fantasy film that starred Milwaukee native Gene Wilder.  The movie was adapted from the 1964 Roald Dahl novel,Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which tells the story of Charlie Bucket, one of five children from around the world fortunate to receive a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s bizarre chocolate factory.

“Performing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a draw for students,” noted Woodall-Schaufler, “because everybody wants to perform when it’s a movie/musical.”  “I had no problem filling the two casts – there are a lot of students out for productions this year from all different majors,” added Woodall-Schaufler, who will be directing her 20th Concordia show this summer.

There are two teams for the performances – “Team Wilder” and “Team Depp.”  Cast members are: Willy Wonka, Colin Murdy and Jonathan Gideon; Charlie, Kyle Fink and Lianna Brice; Veruca, Macy Wallace and Katie Kelly; Violet, Madison Maria and Annalise Jasinski; Mike, Matt Papka and Alexis Smith; Augustus, Tom Forshee and Mark Zieroth; Mrs. Bucket, Leah Wilde and Brianna Neumeyer; Mrs. Gloop, Courtney Richard and Ale Pakalski; Grandpa Joe, Noah Voigt and Ethan Karschnik; Grandma Josephina, Erin Kline and Carrie Robinson; Grandpa George, Eli Duero and Will Turner; Grandma Georgina, Abigail Bekx and Rachel Bartsch; Phineous Trout, Cecilia Milner and Carrie Robinson; Candy Gal/Man/Girl/Guy Poor, Cecilia Milne and Ethan Karschnik; Mr. Salt, Eli Duero and Will Turner; Mr. Bucket, Noah Voigt and Ethan Karschnik;Mrs. Beauregarde, Iesha and Stephanie Knight; Ms. Teavee, Abigail Bekx and Courtney Lucas; Matilda, Erin Kline and Julie Yarbrough; and James, Eli Duero and Will Turner

Concordia’s theatre arts program offers students an opportunity to pursue either a theatre minor, or a theatrical communication degree by combining theatre and communications.  Students perform 3-5 plays a year of varying styles and genres, including the University’s first-ever summer performance in 2017.  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be staged July 14-16 and July 21-23.

Theatre students raise money for a specific charity each academic year and this year’s recipient is Special Olympics.  Several performers from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will also be visiting The Ronald McDonald House in Milwaukee in costume the week of February 20.

Area elementary school groups, including Our Redeemer Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran-Freistadt, St. Francis Borgia and Crossroads Presbyterian will attend special matinee performances February 28-March 3.  “If the performance we’ve selected fits into a school’s curriculum that’s a plus, and the Roald Dahl books are still extremely popular,” Woodall-Schaufler noted.

For more information on theatre events, call 262-243-2035 or visit

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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