Sam Mendes to direct West End version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Sam Mendes plans new musical version of Roald Dahl's enduring children's story
The West End hopes to welcome another Roald Dahl hit when Sam Mendes returns to the stage with a musical version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
The production, which opens at the London Palladium next June, follows the success of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Matilda The Musical, also based on a classic Dahl story, which won six Olivier awards and is about to transfer to Broadway.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory will include new songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who won Tony awards for the stage musical Hairspray. Shaiman is a five-times Oscar nominee for scores and original songs. He and Wittman compose the music for Smash, the television series set behind the scenes of a Broadway musical.
Dahl's 1964 children's novel, about a boy and his grandfather who win admission to Willy Wonka's mysterious sweet factory, has twice been adapted for the screen. A 1971 film starred Gene Wilder as Wonka, and Johnny Depp took the role in a 2005 remake, directed by Tim Burton.
The Palladium show was confirmed by Warner Brothers' Theatre Ventures. Producers will be scouring the Dahl catalogue for further potential stage hits. The Witches has previously been turned into a stage play, while Fantastic Mr Fox was adapted as an opera and performed in Holland Park in 2010. The BFG is in line for a Hollywood remake after Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks studio picked up the film rights to the book.
Mendes, who is currently working on the James Bond film Skyfall, made his name in theatre at the Donmar Warehouse. His first film, American Beauty, won five Oscars including best director and best picture. Mendes reunited with that film's star, Kevin Spacey, for a production of Richard III this year. It is hoped the Charlie musical could follow Matilda to Broadway, where Mendes had success with The Blue Room, Cabaret, Closer and Gypsy.
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