The Narrows Community Theater Summer Youth Program hit the stage at Fort Hamilton Theater for the fourth year in a row on Aug. 16, presenting a dazzling musical production of “Willy Wonka.”
The classic Technicolor tale of a working-class boy who wins a tour of a magical candy factory wowed the audience with a stunning array of songs and dances, dazzling costumes, plus special touches like video projections and life-sized puppets.
“There are a lot of really cute elements that people really weren’t expecting,” said director Susan Huizinga. “It was fun to watch their reaction.”
Huizinga — one of the program’s founders — said her first turn in the director’s chair at Narrows would not have been such a success without the input of the young actors’ parents. Huizinga said that — on top of bringing the 64 kids to four rehearsals a week for three months — the adults helped create sets and produced the video segments.
“It was very much a family effort,” said Huizinga. “A lot of people with the show were very invested in making sure it succeeded.”
But parents said the reward was well worth the work, as they watched the joy their children experienced while performing.
“The culmination is just amazing,” said Frances Elsayed, whose son Adam played the main character, Charlie Bucket, and whose daughter Saarah played one of the gnomish Oompah Loompahs “These are childhood memories they’re going to take with them for the rest of their lives.”
The kids agreed.
“When the show opens and you go on stage opening night it’s the best feeling in the world, because you get to show everybody what you’ve been working on for the past three months,” said 14-year-old Jessica Sparacio, who played Willy Wonka”
“Willy Wonka” at Fort Hamilton Theater [403 Lee Ave. near 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge]. Aug. 23–24, 8 pm. Aug. 25, 2 pm. $20. Tickets, www.narrowscommunitytheater.com.