SA students present “Willy Wonka, Jr.”

SA students performed their spring musical, “Willy Wonka, Jr.”, for their classmates before the public performance at 7 p.m. Friday at the Starkville Church of God. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
Staff Writer

Starkville Academy students will perform their spring musical, “Willy Wonka, Jr.”, on Friday night after performing it for their classmates on Thursday and Friday mornings.

The show will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the Starkville Church of God on the corner of South Montgomery Street and Locksley Way. Tickets cost $5 for students and $7 for adults.

Senior Garner Montogmery said he has performed in two previous SA spring plays and a competition play, which helped him prepare for the lead role of Willy Wonka.

“There’s a candy manufacturer named Willy Wonka, and he makes the most famous and beloved candy of all time,” Montgomery said. “But he’s very secretive and secluded, and no one ever goes in his factory until he hosts a contest. He hides five golden tickets in his candies all over the world, and the five people who find the golden tickets get a chance to visit his factory.”

Junior Ellis Ann Jackson will play the role of Charlie Bucket, and the character was changed to a female for SA’s performance of the play.

Jackson previously played Valerie on Nickelodeon’s “Tahlia in the Kitchen,” but preparing for “Willy Wonka, Jr.” has been a much different experience.

“Theatre is a lot different from camera work,” Jackson said. “So I’ve learned a lot from that with making bigger expressions. On camera it’s just your face, but with theatre it’s your whole body.”

Montgomery and Jackson both agreed that learning to sing for the show has been difficult, but overall, it has been a chaotic yet fun learning experience.

“Before it all comes together, everyone is still learning their lines and still learning what to do,” Montgomery said. “Sometimes we’ll all come together and crash into each other. Just the other day I was supposed to yell at Augustus to not eat the chocolate, but I messed up my lines. I was supposed to scream ‘Augustus, don’t eat the chocolate!’ but instead I screamed, ‘Chocolate!’”

Jackson said her favorite part of preparing for the show was getting to share the experience with her friends.

“We have a lot of laughs. We’re very vulnerable, when you’re having to sing and you don’t normally sing, or when you’re having to play someone you don’t normally play, you get to see a different side of someone and it’s very cool,” Jackson said.

Producer Vicky Warren said SA has performed a spring musical every year since 1974. “I had an old copy that I directed in the past, a simple, nonmusical version, and that’s what made us think about it this year,” Warren said. “There’s another version coming out, andwe watched the two old versions, the crazy Johnny Depp version and the original version.”

Director Elaine Trinkle said her 7th and 8th grade art classes helped create the props for the stage, and all the costumes were either handmade or rented.

“Last year we had Mrs. Vowell as a the director and that was really fun, but this year we have Mrs. Trinkle which is really different,” Farrah Misso said, who will play the role of Grandpa Joe. “She is is the art teacher. For the props, she thinks of everything and goes above and beyond. She’s an amazing director, and I’m glad I got to spend my senior year doing this.”