Ends Jan 14

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

Members say: Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Disappointing, Clever
72
Critics
49
52 reviews
Members
74
797 reviews
 

Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle stars as magical candy master Willy Wonka in the new Broadway musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's book. 

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Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates to a lucky few. It’s a world of pure imagination. Directed by three-time Tony-winning director Jack O'Brien, with new tunes by Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman of 'Hairspray' fame alongside classic songs from the 1971 movie.

 
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Cast & Creatives (51)



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Reviews (849)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
49
Avg Score

55
The New York Times

"This big but tentative show doesn’t burst with flavor of any kind, not during its exposition-crammed first act. Only in its second half does the show acquire a distinct taste and it isn’t confectionary...The idea of macabre punishment seems to have acted as a stimulant on the creative faculties of everyone involved as the show turns increasingly surreal...Most gratifying is the transformation of Borle...Willy switches into dissing diva mode with a skip in his step and a fork in his tongue." Full Review

45
Theatermania

"Incorporating songs from the film, it seems to present itself as earnest entertainment for children and nostalgic adults. Grieg's caustic book and Shaiman and Wittman's pastiche score, on the other hand, feels like a beast with much sharper talons...The show gets considerably better in the second act, when it becomes the Christian Borle show. He exudes a manic genius that fits the eccentric candy industrialist...He can't save everything though...A musical that doesn't know what it wants to be." Full Review

40
Variety

"The uncanny darkness of Dahl’s imagination has been lightened and brightened in helmer Jack O’Brien’s mechanized production...While visually droll, too many of the gimmicks distract from the story and encourage the cartoon treatment of characters as caricatures. Happily, the character of Charlie Bucket escapes this mishandling...Ryan Foust was the best thing in the show...As played by Borle, Willy Wonka's much too charming and lacks the aura of stranger-danger." Full Review

20
New York Magazine / Vulture

"A show like 'Charlie' ought to have been a treat...So why did the thing turn into a hideous, cheap-looking, melted Whitman’s sampler? The glib answer is: too many cooks...The longer answer begins with Dahl. On the page, 'Charlie' immediately reveals itself as a bad candidate for stage musicalization...I doubt this musical would have proved at all likable even if an apt style and thrilling visuals had been found for it. The story is too maudlin and, at the same time, too angry." Full Review

35
Time Out New York

"Joyless, shapeless and grating...a stale Necco wafer of a musical...O’Brien directs this dull, clunky adaptation of the book and movie with none of the wit of the former nor the dreamy wonder of the latter. Maybe kids will enjoy the gaudy design and veneer of sassy satire, but when you bite down, there’s only empty shell. Younger audiences can cheer, but adults are bound to conclude that 'Charlie' is like what happens with an Everlasting Gobstopper: lots of sucking." Full Review

55
Theater Life

“Neither relevant nor even consistently entertaining, but it does provide the occasional guilty-pleasure shot of sweetness...Unfortunately these are few and far between…This uneven kiddie show takes us on a roller-coaster ride with too many flat stretches…The old tunes remain sources of delight as do a handful of the newer ones. But David Greig’s book misses the strong narrative drive of the original and the cinema versions.” Full Review

55
New York Theater

“The overall effect manages to be too obvious and yet too bland...I have nothing especially negative to say about most of the performances, including Borle’s, although nothing especially positive to say about the actors portraying the four insufferable children who won the sought-after golden tickets…Their ends are clearly meant to be clever, but don’t sparkle in the execution…I suspect there are enough moments to make the show at least intermittently enjoyable for adult chaperones.” Full Review

60
Lighting & Sound America

"If it is hardly the best musical on Broadway, it is surely the most improved...The book suffers from the fact that it takes an entire act to get to the chocolate factory...The second act is, quite possibly, the most macabre children's entertainment ever...If 'Charlie' isn't likely to entertain adults looking for a sophisticated Broadway musical, it is probably just the thing for parents looking to take the kids to a show. They aren't likely to notice its less-than-seamless assembly." Full Review

10
The Hollywood Reporter

"The perversely charmless new musical will have little to offer grown-up audiences. Kids might find more to enjoy in this frantic Frankenstein's monster of a show, but that doesn't make it less of a misfire...This choc-atrocity has got to rank as one of the most aesthetically off-putting family musicals in memory...Between O'Brien's hyperactive direction and Thompson's biliously colorful designs, there's little to love...Spare yourself the empty calories." Full Review

75
Broadway Blog

“Although not a fan of Dahl's high-calorie story even I found some of it satisfying and delicious…While no show could compete with Hollywood's special effects, there's plenty of cleverness displayed in the gimmicky scenery…and ingenious staging. The child-unfriendly ways that punish the plot's entitled brats are a hoot, and even queasy stomachs will likely ingest such comic images as people bursting into purple goop or dismembered by squirrels.” Full Review

0
AM New York

"Disastrous and distasteful...An ultra-aggressive, play-it-up silliness pervades every aspect of the show, turning what is a tender and fanciful story into a loud and brash frenzy...There is a desperate quality to Borle’s upbeat performance. He pushes too hard, resorting to increasingly larger antics in an attempt to win over the crowd...The new songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are terrible." Full Review

35
The Huffington Post

“There’s enough on-stage pizzazz to keep the pre-teens charged and cheering...I have to report that the sweets dispensed here have no appeal for me...The primary problem is with Greig’s prolific book, which, among other things, is all over the place...In regards to humor, of which ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is totally devoid: book writer Greig is unable to land a single joke...Given the wafer-thin meager material, the cast members are pretty much left to fend for themselves.” Full Review

5
Talkin' Broadway

"It's just bad: plain, simple, and totally. Although, to be fair, it does keep one-upping itself—this is not a musical that's willing to settle for second-worst...Should have been a slam-dunk property...This show rebukes all of that potential, as well as stamping out the material's warmth and charm...As for Shaiman and Wittman's score, it's shallow and tacky, by leagues the pair's weakest work for Broadway...A massive, melty mess." Full Review

20
Chicago Tribune

"A deeply disappointing musical...You do get flashes of Dahl's brand of caustic fun. For a few seconds. They're gone with the snap of a light cue or a bit of a sugar-free trick...It's emblematic of how a musical with unlimited imaginative potential never fully decided whether this was to be a retro experience or a cultural probing of the moment. Either one could have worked. But not without that moment when a world of sugar unfolds, and a boy's aching heart almost stops." Full Review

45
Times Square Chronicles

"The set by Mark Thompson doesn’t wow, the music by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman misses the mark...I am a huge Christian Borle fan and, though it pains me to say it, Borle, in wonderful voice, is not the Willy Wonka from the book or the movies. If you are going to re-invent a film then it should be better live than on celluloid...O’Brien’s direction is satisfactory. Joshua Bergasse’s choreography is frantic...A watchable, but mediocre musical." Full Review

65
Deadline

"It’s goofy, loud and imaginative—superlatively so...It’s not as theatrically inventive as 'Matilda,' and it probably won’t share that show’s canny ability to appeal to adults as well as kids...The supporting cast does well by the Shaiman and Wittman numbers, which fill out the characters with considerable humor...The moments of pleasure for this adult viewer were decidedly scattershot...Grown-ups will serve their purpose as ticket buyers, and their tykes will get the sugar rush." Full Review

40
New York Daily News

"The candy man can’t. 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is a middle-of-the-road musical with a pale score, a flavorless book and a dearth of eye candy that could have at least made it a spectacle...Heading a large, game and polished cast, Christian Borle has panache as Wonka. He plays the chocolate maker as snarky, not all that sinister...But this Ooma Loompa Doom-Pa-Dee Do-Over still needs work." Full Review

75
Front Mezz Junkies

"This musical is as sweet and charming as can be, with a gleefully dose of wickedness that isn’t too dark or deadly...The production whistles along quite competently hitting all the right notes of wonder, sweetness, and more importantly, devilishness when the recipe starts feeling a bit too sweet...I can’t say this musical is a revelation in any way, and at times the story lacked a strong drive forward...I was never bored, but I can’t say I was fully engaged with my heart or my soul." Full Review

80
Front Row Center

"This adaptation, with just a few blips, rises to the occasion...Act I at moments lacks vitality, as if the muted colors have at times muted the action. Act II fares better, with dazzling color and a faster pace...A marvel of theatricality, with a great voice and a gift for physical comedy, Borle gives an electric performance of unflagging energy...O’Brien has directed an eccentric, entertaining, and at times dazzling production of a timeless story audiences will take to heart." Full Review

70
Theater In The Now

"This musical confection spins a flavor that can only be described as modern...If you're looking to throw your cares away and just have fun, there's nothing more tantalizing...But if a well-structured, smartly planned musical is what you seek, this show swings for the fences and strikes out often...The new music is vibrant, modern, and earworm-worthy...The libretto was overstuffed...This show was all about the visuals, treading the fine line of homage and originality." Full Review

65
The Wrap

"I’ve never witnessed such a second-act reversal of fortune...Only in retrospective can you see glimmers of hope in the musical’s desultory first half. Just one song hits the mark...What’s great about Act 2 is that...Borle as Wonka occupies center stage and never lets go...He makes us forget about both Johnny Depp and Gene Wilder. Of course, it’s not all Borle. His Wonka material is good. So, too, are the staging of the multiple deaths by candy overload." Full Review

35
Newsday

"For a musical about the wonder of pure imagination, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is bizarrely lacking in it...It’s almost painful to watch Borle, a master of endearing virtuosity, work so hard to sell charm that simply isn’t in the script, the music and too much of the staging...The show is saccharine and soporific. David Greig’s book feels forced, and the intentionally nasty bits about fat Bavarian children, Russian megalomaniacs, etc., feel more gratuitous than satirical." Full Review

45
WNBC

"More often than it should, 'Charlie' fails children when trying to speak to adults, and vice versa...An inability to hit the right tone and sustain it is a serious problem...The music is a combination of other songs from the film and mostly bland new work by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman...For all its attempts to recreate the delight of Roald Dahl’s story, it left me with something of a toothache." Full Review

55
The Wall Street Journal

“The new songs are fast-moving genre pieces that mostly go down without hiccups. O’Brien’s direction never lets the pace slacken, even if indigestion might result...If your tastes in candy and drama differ from mine, there is enough here at least to provide some amusement. And it is a legitimate treat to see how Wonka’s small-sized servants, the Oompa Loompas, make their appearance...The musical’s clotted and confused message left me longing for a steaming bowl of cabbage surprise." Full Review

35
Theater Pizzazz

"Much has gone awry with the weird humor and horror that now becomes a fudged version of itself...The standouts are the Oompa Loompas...Although I know Borle as a top-notch actor, he fails to impress in this misbegotten role...Who’s at fault? Greig’s book? O’Brien’s interpretation? Perhaps more pure imagination would have served this family musical better. But, instead, we are left with a bittersweet taste—this could have been more." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
74
Avg Score

50
Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched

See it if You have a free ticket.

Don't see it if You value originality, good storytelling or set design. Seriously, the set for Willy Wonka‘s chocolate river is laughably, insultingly bad

25
Awful book, Horrible set, Borel's worst, Limped score

See it if Want to watch Borel ruin his singing voice pushing and at sea acting wise. He tries everything with no success to save this turkey.

Don't see it if You've never seen a B'Way Show. You'll never want to see another with today's overpricing .

60
Funny, Disappointing, Entertaining

See it if You like the overall story and are bringing a family

Don't see it if You want a spectacle. The set was basically nonexistent. Also the show is LOUD, lots of yelling and screaming.

95
Clever, Entertaining, Fun!, Imaginative, Great staging & costumes

See it if you want to see an eccentric & inventive take on the willy wonka story.

Don't see it if you lack imagination and wit

Also this show was so much fun. it was whimsical in an eccentric sort of wa... Read more Read less

79
Indulgent, Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if you are a Christian Borle fan, as he is marvelous in this show, and if you like fun sets and costumes (especially the OompaLoompas!!!)

Don't see it if you don't like musicals or want a show that's not mindless...

52
Ambitious, Disappointing, Fluffy

See it if if you feel you have to see everything... this show disappointed & the night i went I did not even have the joy of seeing Christian Borle!

Don't see it if you can see something else!

45
Disappointing, Insipid, Terrible staging

See it if You need to see a show that's family-friendly

Don't see it if You don't appreciate shows that are seemingly just looking to cash in on a childhood classic without putting any effort or love into it

63
Disappointing, Colorful, Morbid, Failed set expectations, Bad 2nd act

See it if you tolerate disappointments. Beginning is colorful and enjoyable. Gets dull, morbid and excruciating in the 2nd act.

Don't see it if you expect great set for the factory. It should have saved this show, but was amateurish and totally lacked imagination instead.

67
Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You don’t expect too much. It’s one of those shows that tries to recreate the movie almost scene for scene rather than adapting it to stage.

Don't see it if You expect to be charmed the same way you were by the original movie or the book or even dazzled by the Johnny Depp version. Not much heart.

Also Christian Borle sings all the songs from the original movie beautifull... Read more Read less

90
Delightful, Masterful, Must see, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like an upbeat, lively show with great music, singing, dancing and cute effects. This show was fun from start to finish.

Don't see it if you don't like musicals or whimsical shows.

Also While there were many children in the audience, I think parents have t... Read more Read less

60
Funny, Clever

See it if you love the books, movies, Christian Borle.

Don't see it if You are expecting a much flashier show and bigger effects

75
Great acting, Disappointing, Family show, Great staging and choreography

See it if see it for Christian Borle, Jake Flynn (Charlie), John Rubenstein and a very talented cast.

Don't see it if There should be an effervescence to the story and there isn't. It takes way too long to get to the Chocolate Factory and then the effects

Also aren't spectacular Where is the magic of the Chocolate Factory?... Read more Read less

68
Funny, Disappointing, Cliched, Overrated, Slow

See it if you have kids who won't know the difference

Don't see it if you are looking for something fresh or mildly interesting or fun

Also I had low expectations and I would say they were met! Is it terrible..... Read more Read less

69
Funny, Clever, Disappointing, Entertaining, Uninspired

See it if you have children you want to take because they will probably enjoy it. Good performances,especially Christian Borle and John Rubenstein.

Don't see it if you expect it to be as good as the book or the Gene Wilder movie or if you expect great music and a fast-moving production.

Also The Oompa-Loompas are great! It's better than the London production (w... Read more Read less

5
Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid, Overrated, Slow

See it if you are not expecting much in the way of content.

Don't see it if you're expecting quality musical theatre.

79
Entertaining, Cute, Imaginative

See it if you're looking for a family show that is funny and entertaining.

Don't see it if you have big expectations. For real theater fans it's a bit disappointing and lackluster.

74
Delightful, Entertaining, Imaginative, Playful, Toothsome

See it if you seek a frolicsome, family-friendly, slightly updated version of the brilliant movie musical w/familiar tunes & forgettable new songs.

Don't see it if you can't just let your imagination run free & enjoy a confection of a musical that is long on fun, if a little short on grand spectacle.

Also There are some lost opportunities here, especially with the set design... Read more Read less

75
Clever, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if you aren't expecting it to be like the movies, it's more similar to the book, but modernized. The Oompa-Loompas are very creatively done.

Don't see it if you want it to be like the movies. If you want grandiose sets of the chocolate factory (I was generally underwhelmed).

Also I thought it was kind of ridiculous that we don't get to the chocolate... Read more Read less

72
Quirky, Underwhelming, Amusing

See it if you have children, you are interested in a clever representation of Oompa Loompas (though it tires fast), you enjoy the story no matter what

Don't see it if you expect a great deal of Wonka Wonder - it falls flat on the wow factor, you care about lyrics - many of the performances get drowned out.

25
Disappointing

See it if you don't care if they bastardize a classic novel and beloved film.

Don't see it if you love the classic novel and film (the FIRST ONE please!). This is just mean spirited.

68
Disappointing

See it if Your curious about new musical based on book and two movies and like the story line with music added.

Don't see it if A transfer from London with less colorful scenery which means mediocre sets. Decent case tries to made it work but it's all uphill in this.

69
Dizzying, Indulgent, Fluffy, Youthful

See it if you love Roald Dahl and the classic story, are a big Christian Borle fan, or like shows tailored for young audiences

Don't see it if you like shows with catchy songs, have a deeper meaning, or use their theater spaces to amaze and astonish...this falls flat

69
Banal, Disappointing, Lackluster, bland

See it if you are a Ronald Dahl fan and have fond memories of the movie in a production that doesn't capture the heart and soul of the novel or movie.

Don't see it if you don't want to be disappointed in your memory of the novel/movie by seeing a watered down version that sucks out the charm and heart

Also the Broadway production is a scaled down, retooled version of the orig... Read more Read less

40
Funny, Disappointing, Overrated, Bizarre, Bad performances

See it if you have kids that want to see it. It's definitely a show tailored to young audiences

Don't see it if You want a well-done show.....Only highlights of the show were Christian and John's performances and a few moments

70
Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you are a fan of the story or of any of the actors in the show, or just curious about how they would portray the story live on stage.

Don't see it if you believe that this story should contain an amazing set for the chocolate factory because they utterly failed in this department.