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Sweet! ‘Willy Wonka’ cast having fun in Theatre West production
July 15, 2016 Frank Marquez   

Read more by Frank Marquez

Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen James played by Jaedon Marshall and Charlie Bucket played by Javier Jiminez rehearse a number for Theatre West’s production of “Willy Wonka.”

Theatre West presents a music-filled fantasy for all ages, “Willy Wonka,” set to open on July 14 at WNCC Little Theatre.

This is Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world famous candy man, and quest to find an heir for his chocolate-covered life.

In his budding career, Javier Jiminez, 15, has played a few lead roles, adding one more this summer as Charlie Bucket. One was Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors, an opera in one act by Gian Carolo Menottie, first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre in December 1951. He also played Randolph MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie.

So far, working the Wonka cast “has been so much fun. It’s great to work with this cast. We’re memorizing our lines, and it’s coming along really well. This is my first experience working with Theatre West,” Javier said, adding that he hopes to do more with the acting troupe. He learned about landing the role, while he was watching the Scottsbluff High School production of Singing in the Rain, this past spring. I was super excited about the part, and I was telling all my friends. His first foray into acting, he played a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz when hew as in fourth grade, “and I just wanted to do more this,” he said.
“Putting in all the hard work, gives you the best feeling, especially when everything goes absolutely well, knowing how we got it all down. Having this kind of experience is some of the most fun.”

Playing the role of Mrs. Bucket, Charlie’s mother, Megan Brady, Gering Class of 2015, and now a student at UNL, said she has been busy her freshman year studying music education with the goal to eventually teaching choir.

Charlie and his poor family, including two sets of grandparents, live in a rundown house. They try to keep Charlie happy, so after hoping for a golden ticket, and being disappointed that he didn’t get one of the five hidden worldwide in Wonka candybars, Megan performs “Cheer Up Charlie.”

This is Megan’s third year performing with Theatre West, and her first year as a paid actress. In her summer gig with Theatre West, she also played Vi Petty the wife of Norman Petty (Slater Ashenhurst), Buddy Holly’s record label manager, in “The Buddy Holly Story.” She called Vi “sassy,” and a character serving to “provide some comedic relief,” in an otherwise serious story. The musical also allowed her to show off her musicianship – a few numbers called for her to play piano and sing. She also performed in the Andrew Lloyd Weber concert in early July.

Brady said her interest in theatre and the performance began when she was wowed by “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was being performed by Gering High School in 2007.

As a result, she caught the acting bug. She has since played Mrs. Hopkins in My Fair Lady when she was a freshman. Her first big role came along the following year in “Tintypes,” a musical revue by Mary Kyte, and originally produced by the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., in 1980. Brady also played the evil stepmother in “Cinderella,” and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes. She said, “It’s been interesting working both sides of the spectrum, with professional and community actors. This has been Brady’s first time really working with kids, something she may spend a lot of time doing in the near future. “The experience has been a lot of fun,” Brady said, “But my first love is to teach, though later, I might have an interest in pursuing musical theatre.”

To order tickets priced at $18 per adult; $17 per senior; $10 per junior and $8 per student, call 635-6193, visit the box office or www.theatrewestnebraska.com
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