LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—A local cast of 39 young actors will present Willy Wonka Jr. on the MainStage at Arkansas Repertory Theatre this summer. The production, which runs June 21-30, is based on the classic tale by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“We were amazed by the level of interest and talent at auditions,” said Anna Kimmell, Director of Education at The Rep, who is the production’s director and choreographer. “These students are serious about theatre – many of them plan to pursue acting professionally. Prepare to be ‘wowed’ by their talents.”

Tickets start at $15 and are available at, by phone at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting the Box Office at 601 Main Street in Little Rock.

Willy Wonka Jr. is a musical adaptation of the story about enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka, who stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whomever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats, but the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory – or suffer the consequences!

“This production features many of the iconic songs from the 1971 film,” Kimmell said. “But we're also putting our own Rep-spin on this classic by adding imaginative, theatrical elements to the design and staging. It will be a perfect mix of ‘nostalgic’ and ‘new’ to entertain the young and the young at heart.”

The cast includes Eliah Boles (Young Ensemble), Sela Booher (Featured Dancer), Adelaide Bricker (Young Ensemble), Collin Carlton (Charlie Bucket), Chaelie DeJohn (Featured Dancer), Emilea Derden (Young Ensemble), Chelsea Elise Franklin (Young Ensemble), Robert Gatlin (Ensemble), Jacob Grinder (Augustus Gloop), Izzy Hammonds (Mrs. Bucket), Amaya Hardin (Featured Dancer), Alex Harkins (Ensemble), Emla Holsted (Mrs. Beauregarde), Jackson Karl (Phineous Trout), Tania Renee Kelley (Veruca Salt), Lauren Lasseigne (Young Ensemble), Caitlyn Olivia Luna (Grandma Josephine), Chloe Grace Luna (Ensemble), Betsy McClure (Young Ensemble), Taylor Moore (Ensemble), Charlie Mulhollan (Young Ensemble), Isabella Nguyen (Violet Beauregarde), Jesse Niswanger (Grandpa Joe), Cabe Parrish (Mrs. Gloop), Caroline Perry (Featured Dancer), Corbin Pitts (Mike Teavee), Grace Pitts (Featured Dancer/Dance Captain), Will Porter (Willy Wonka), Alexandra Powell (Grandma Georgina), Emily Pyron (Ensemble), Anna Reynolds (Ms. Teavee), William Romain (Mr. Bucket), Melody Small (Featured Dancer), Miles Tillemans (Young Ensemble), Magnolia Vincent (Young Ensemble), Nyle Watson (Grandpa George), Walt Wenger (Young Ensemble), Nate Westerman (Featured Dancer) and Grant Wild (Mr. Salt).

The design and creative team includes Anna Kimmell, director/choreographer; Mark Binns, musical director; Zachery Ingersoll, assistant director; Mike Nichols, scenic designer; Holly Payne, costume designer; Lynda J. Kwallek, properties designer; Josh Anderson, lighting designer; and Luke Mitchell, sound designer. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the production stage manager is Merit Glover. Adrian Griffey is the assistant stage manager.

Related Information


May be purchased at, by phone at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting the Box Office at 601 Main Street in Little Rock. Performances run June 21-30.

Performance Dates, Times for Willy Wonka Jr.


  • Friday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 22 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 23 at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m. (ASL-interpreted)
  • Friday, June 28 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 29 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 30 at 2 p.m.

Pre-Show Choir

A pre-show choir composed of Education @ The Rep students will perform a short collection of musical theatre repertoire in The Rep’s lobby before Willy Wonka Jr. performances on June 21, 23, 28 and 30.

The choir includes Ana Alba, Ava St. Ana, Ava Cassidy, Sadie Edwards, Samantha Fuller, Vivi Green, Helen Humphries, Matthew Lamb, Sylvie Moore, Kathryn Morris, Lena Nelson, McKenzie Owens, Olivia De Rossitte and LeslieJo Sullivan.

Special Events for Willy Wonka Jr.

  • Art work by 7th and 8th grade students from eStem Downtown Junior High will be displayed in The Rep's lobby during the run of production. Each piece, designed and drawn by the students, will depict a room in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The students’ teacher is Phillip Rex Huddleston.
  • Cast Meet & Greet @ Loblolly

Thursday, June 6, 6-8 p.m.

Loblolly Creamery, 1423 Main St, Little Rock

Join the cast at Loblolly for photos and the unveiling of a Wonka-inspired Loblolly flavor ice cream.

  •  Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Speaker Series

Thursday, June 20, 12 p.m.

Join Anna Kimmell, director/choreographer for Willy Wonka Jr., and members of the cast for a panel discussion on this production.

  • Opening Night Fun

Sponsored by Innovation Hub

Friday, June 21, 6 p.m.

The Rep, 601 Main St., Little Rock

Before the 7 p.m. performance, try your hand at being a scientist like Wonka! The Innovation Hub will offer STEM-related, hands-on activities for kids and families in The Rep’s lobby.

Cast Listed By Hometown

Conway – Jackson Karl, Nate Westerman
Greenbrier – Emla Holsted
Jacksonville – Emilea Derden
Little Rock – Sela Booher, Adelaide Bricker, Chaelie DeJohn, Chelsea Elise Franklin, Robert Gatlin, Alex Harkins, Tania Renee Kelley, Lauren Lasseigne, Betsy McClure, Taylor Moore, Charlie Mulhollan, Isabella Nguyen, Jesse Niswanger, Cabe Parrish, Caroline Perry, Will Porter, Emily Pyron, Anna Reynolds, William Romain, Melody Small, Miles Tillemans, Magnolia Vincent, Nyle Watson, Grant Wild
Lonsdale – Izzy Hammonds
Maumelle – Eliah Boles, Amaya Hardin
North Little Rock – Corbin Pitts, Grace Pitts, Walt Wenger
Paron – Collin Carlton
Sheridan – Caitlyn Olivia Luna, Chloe Grace Luna
Sherwood – Jacob Grinder, Alexandra Powell

Upcoming Productions

Million Dollar Quartet, Sept. 4-Oct. 6; It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Dec. 4-22. More information is available at

Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Arkansas Repertory Theatre was founded in 1976 with a mission to produce a diverse body of work intended to illuminate the human condition through great storytelling and is the largest non-profit professional theatre company in the state. Having produced more than 350 shows (including 40 world premieres), the 377-seat theatre is located in downtown Little Rock where it serves as the anchor of the city’s Creative Corridor. For more information, visit


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