Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical


J.P. Simmons, Staff Writer

The popular musical “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory  The Musical” is touring and is coming to the Bushnell this month. Director Jack O’Brien says that the audience will see “the version that should’ve played Broadway.

The musical first premiered in London in 2013 and had a book adaptation by Scottish playwright David Grieg. Other works by Grieg that were showcased in Connecticut include “Midsummer,” “The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart,”and “The Event.”He assisted with rewrites of the current script while March Shaiman and Scott Wittman helped with the production’s score. 

OBrien says“The original show that Sam did bears no resemblance to what is now. Some of the music is the same, but the book has been completely redone. The producers wouldn’t have brought the London one over [to the U.S.]. Sam wouldn’t have wanted to anyway.” 

He found that while British audiences showed plenty of love toward the original Roald Dahl book “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory,” he also saw that American audiences were more affectionate towards 1971 Gene Wilder film versions. 

“It’s important to honor the audience’s expectations,” says O’Brien. 

O’Brien, who wasn’t favorable towards the film, rethought the musical and rewrote how it should be presented in the final production. He added“It’s a children’s parable about what not to do. That works in a book, but Dahl did not think about the theatrical possibilities. If there’s not a valid relationship between this flamboyant man and this little boy, it doesn’t work.

While the production had under a nine-month run on Broadway, some believe it will be made a bigger success from touring. 

“Charlie And The Chocolate Factory” runs at The Bushnell located in Hartford with performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 

Tickets can be bought on the Bushnell’s website at