Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Broadway)
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Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Broadway)
74

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(938 Reviews)
Positive
72%
Mixed
20%
Negative
8%
Members say
Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Disappointing, Clever

About the Show

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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Member Reviews (938)

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84
Fun, Entertaining, Great for families, Absorbing, Clever

See it if Surprisingly entertaining.Great story, music, singing. Sets are clever, creative, fun & colorful. Imagination required.;-) Borle at his best

Don't see it if you expect the movie and/or lavish over-the-top sets. Some scenes are shocking but it's following the original book.Some inappropriate jokes Read more

84
Funny, Entertaining, Fun, Delightful, Clever

See it if Very entertaining w/ lots of laughs. Borle & entire cast are great! Strong hilarious Moments esp in Act2! "Death" scenes very creative/fun.

Don't see it if You are looking for something serious. I find the critics reviews unjustifiably harsh. If you want a fun time, this is a great choice.

Critic Reviews (52)

The New York Times
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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Time Out New York
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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New Yorker
April 25th, 2017

"The new production feels like the result of late-night script meetings and second-guessing. The artistic choices don’t seem wrong so much as exasperated...The effort to rejigger the story into something new has also opened a few plot holes...Despite its problems, the show is still watchable, in part because Dahl spun his modern fairy tale so nimbly. And it has some real bright spots. There are catchy songs interspersed with the wonderful Bricusse-Newley songs from the 1971 film."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 23rd, 2017

"The roles are mostly well played, the book is fine, the songs are serviceable, and the sets are fairly clever, but none of it is—transporting...The best thing about the new production is Christian Borle as Wonka...As good as Borle’s version is, Wilder still owns it. That may not be surprising. But what is is how flat most of the musical feels. From the moment the curtain raises until the moment it finally drops, there’s a sense that something is missing. Something magical. "
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Variety
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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The Wall Street Journal
April 25th, 2017

“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."
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Deadline
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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The Washington Post
April 24th, 2017

"'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' imagines itself cleverly subversive, but it’s just a shrill and nasty cartoon. The production labors under the illusion that killing off irritating children in a candy factory is hilarious, when instead it comes across as one indulgent act of mean-spiritedness...Borle wears a disconcerted look throughout much of the proceedings, as if he just finished a meal that didn’t agree with him."
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Chicago Tribune
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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New York Daily News
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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AM New York
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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Theatermania
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 1st, 2017

"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."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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Broadway News
April 23rd, 2017

"Flavors are missing and oddly combined, running the risk of pleasing neither children nor grown-ups...The music is serviceable enough without being in any way memorable. The lyrics are occasionally clever...What world are we in? Who is this show for? These strike me as the central problems with this adaptation and production...In the end, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' doesn’t deliver either an endorphin-inducing chocolate high or a satisfying experience."
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TheaterScene.net
May 1st, 2017

“Without the more spectacular effects of either of the films—or even of the London production of the musical version, for that matter—’Charlie’ loses most of its impact. It becomes a bunch of people running around a stage, trying to engage us in an empty story. And who cares, or why should we? Even Christian Borle seems to melt into the cardboard scenery.”
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Theater Pizzazz
April 28th, 2017

"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."
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CurtainUp
April 23rd, 2017

"Borle plays Wonka with exhilarating ferocity. Abetted by a compellingly motivated company...Some transfers from film or book to stage work and some don't. Not so sure this time...What has presumably remained intact is the serviceable, if not quite funny enough, book and the sprightly original score...'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' may not be a golden ticket winner in the musical theater sweepstakes but it does win on its own terms by tickling our imagination."
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Front Row Center
April 28th, 2017

"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."
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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Exeunt Magazine
May 2nd, 2017

“The confection they’ve crafted overloads on sweetness, goes berserk with frenetic energy, and then, predictably, crashes. It is, on the whole, a slightly nauseating experience…Mindlessness seems to have won the day...Christian Borle, as the famous chocolatier himself, proves the exception to the rule in this production…Wonka’s factory is glaringly lacking in magic…The new musical numbers are largely forgettable.”
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New York Theater
April 26th, 2017

“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.”
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Broadway Blog
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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Times Square Chronicles
April 27th, 2017

"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."
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The Huffington Post
April 23rd, 2017

“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.”
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The Wrap
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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T
May 6th, 2017

“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.”
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Theater In The Now
May 2nd, 2017

"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."
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Newsday
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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The Stage (UK)
April 24th, 2017

“With a new director, plus new, and notably less expensive, designs and an extensively revised book and score, it moves faster and establishes its relationships far better…Charlie's obnoxious fellow claimants for Wonka’s factory tour are now played by adult actors, not kids; the Oompa Loompas are newly kitted out in body suits from which the actors' own heads pop out, while the new and less embellished design allows the audience to make its own imaginative leaps.”
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Towleroad
April 24th, 2017

"The musical is first and foremost a test of patience...Only once we reach the factory at last does the musical’s leading man, a sly and off-beat Christian Borle, finally get to take the reins and drive the show with some momentum...Don’t expect grand confectionary spectacle, though; director Jack O’Brien and designer Mark Thompson take the whole 'world of pure imagination' thing pretty literally...Borle is, all the same, a winning ringleader of a somewhat lackluster circus."
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Daily Beast
April 23rd, 2017

"Why does this production feel too small, too meager, and not magic enough? 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' needs to go big, surely, or not at all. The modesty of this production feels a little lost on the stage...The show is far from a disaster, just far too timid. Borle and Flynn are charming flip sides of the same quirky coin, and as compadres are lovely to watch...There is a critically lacking wonder and magic here—and Charlie and Wonka deserve buckets of both."
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WNBC
April 23rd, 2017

"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."
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M
April 30th, 2017

"A family-sized, mouth-watering mélange of eccentric perversity and tenderhearted pleasure...Act I seems to dawdle quite a bit...Still, the opening act has its virtues. Among them is the presence of one of Broadway’s most distinctively appealing leading men playing Wonka, Christian Borle...It’s in Act II that the dazzle quotient soars. Charlie’s competitors are disposed of in deliciously sadistic ways, and the secrets of Willy Wonka’s candy making are revealed."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
April 30th, 2017

“I found this musical version oddly sweet and gooey, but David Greig’s book I found more Dull than Dahl. As a result, despite star Christian Borle’s game effort to inject charm into the characters of Willie Wonka and the ‘Candy Man,’ the long first act didn’t offer me much to cheer about…The second act improves noticeably for Mr. Borle comes into his own and the Oompa Loompas arrive.”
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Out Magazine
April 24th, 2017

"'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' wants very badly to be loved. It restores some elements that were in the original story, while updating it to the present and adding references to hip-hop and tweeting...There’s also animation, large squirrels, and lots of funny business in Act Two, when Borle lets loose with his wryly witty taunting antics. The show has a lot of hard sell, but some rewards, as it lampoons gluttony at Broadway prices."
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NJ.com
April 25th, 2017

"A hot mess of a Broadway musical: loud, crass, and deeply confused about the point of its source material...When you compound Dahl's cynicism with garden variety vulgarity, the result is toxic...Borle plays Wonka with a kind of passive-aggressive detachment that is both off-putting and dull...Yet as much as this show veers all over the place, and as chintzy as Mark Thompson's sets sometimes appear, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' features its share arresting weirdness and wonder."
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Epoch Times
May 6th, 2017

“Sadly, the show fails to keep faith with its source material, proving to be an uneven mixture of satire and wistfulness…The show’s creators aren’t sure whether to present a childhood fantasy or a dark allegory...The musical numbers written especially for the stage are not nearly as strong as the tunes used in the film…But Borle does an excellent job...‘Charlie’ reminds one of a rather misshapen cake. It may taste okay, but the proper overall effect is lost.”
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StageZine
April 26th, 2017

“The overall product will likely thrill many, but is mostly cotton candy without the substance or edgy humor of the book and original film…The weakest by far of all the adaptations…There are spectacular production numbers…Director Jack O’Brien and book writer still David Greig have not solved the main problem: The awkward first act…It is truly a shame the people behind the show simply did not come up with fresh ideas to make this a more memorable musical.”
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BroadwaySelect
May 1st, 2017

"The score is professional; the scenery tries to get by on our pure imagination; the cast is fine except for the child who plays Charlie...Worse still is the show’s basic premise which we must face head-on: Willy Wonka is a serial killer...It’s all meant to be a cautionary tale: 'Kids! Don’t disobey your parents! Behave and you’ll be rewarded!' and 'Parents! Don’t overindulge your kids!” But the message comes from a place of fear, not rationality."
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Drama Queen NYC
May 1st, 2017

“Shaiman’s music is charming – full of tasty licks as usual...It is most unfortunate that muddy sound design often obscures those witty lyrics. Christian Borle portrays Wonka with his usual élan, with somewhat more humanity than previous incarnations. Director Jack O’Brien has presented a smaller-scale production than Sam Mendes on the West End, and while I’m not sure that was the right decision, it’s still sufficiently splashy and vivid. Recommended.”
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TheaterScene.com
May 14th, 2017

"The lugubrious, overstuffed, undernourished first act...The second act finally gets to the good stuff. Meaning Christian Borle...You know what bad behavior earns. Admonishment. But in author Dahl’s hands, that amounts to fanciful and picturesque dismemberment which is supposed to amuse us. Sorry, Dahl. That is sick...Everything depends on the ultimate chemistry between wistful, almost-real Charlie and outlandish, not-at-all-real Willy Wonka and it isn’t quite there."
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Peconic Public Broadcasting
April 24th, 2017

"We finally have a terrific show for kids under 12 and, in fact, have a marvelous show for anyone still living...Mr. Borle is a total whirlwind and the kids will adore him. He’s on stage about 95% of the time and how he can catch his breath is hard to imagine...So take your kids or any children for that matter and go see 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' I guarantee they and you will have a ball."
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SusanGranger.com
April 29th, 2017

“A garishly grotesque new musical…Bizarrely, these obnoxious caricatures of ‘children’ are played by adults…The most memorable music is from the film score…Mark Thompson’s serviceable sets and costumes disappoint, as does Joshua Bergasse’s clunky choreography…Since family fare is always in demand on Broadway, it’s too bad that something magical must have been lost crossing the Pond."
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F
April 29th, 2017

"A poor copy of its London incarnation...Anything of any consequence really happens in the final minutes of the first act or in the second act, including the truly unique dance sequences by the Oompa Loompa factory workers portrayed by dancers merged physically with puppets...The Dylan’s candy bars sold in the lobby are pretty good and all in all bound to be more satisfying than the show itself."
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Simon Parris Man in Chair
April 23rd, 2017

"Broadway producers have taken blue-chip title 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and diminished it to the point where it almost seems to be some sort of elaborate practical joke...These reductions in scale may have been more palatable if the musical itself were more appealing...Borle brings plenty of amusing quirks to Wonka, but overall pushes too hard where the role should be far more sinister and wickedly charming...The only recommendation that can be made is to avoid it."
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Broadway Showbiz
April 27th, 2017

"The stellar cast and incredible choreography do not disappoint. The Oompa Loompa scenes were so funny and creative they had me roaring with laughter. It was hilarious…Christian Borle is perfection as Willy, and he impressed me as always. My one problem with the show are the sets. They were not spectacular, and you needed to leave it to your own imagination…A very entertaining night at the theater if you can let yourself go and let your inner child out for the night."
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Village Voice
May 16th, 2017

“I came away disappointed, cheated of human warmth and theatrical energy…The biggest problem with the mishmash of a show is the fact that it’s placeless, set in some corporate trade-show environment specified, from time to time, with video projections…Joshua Bergasse’s choreography appears in short bursts throughout; like the music it is eminently forgettable…Most kids will eat this silly undertaking up; many parents may be disturbed by the lack of real nourishment.”
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The Cultural Critic
August 31st, 2017

"Borle gives a superstar performance...Borle makes his Wonka equal parts deranged, silly, malicious, and sweet. You can’t help but keep your eyes glued to see what he’ll do next...This production does have some problems. The set is minimal...Some of the jokes are immature. Ultimately though, this musical provides an enjoyable night out for the family...'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' has plenty of laughs, some sweet moments, and puts a smile on your face for two hours."
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J
May 5th, 2017

"A property this famous and pre-branded doesn’t need critical praise to thrive—that is, as long as it has coherence, theatrical inventiveness, and charm of its own. I felt sure this show had all of that...It is a theatrical achievement of sorts—smart, propulsive, engaging and punctuated with a dozen-plus bouncy new songs...I suppose it’s true that none of this is all that profound. Nevertheless, the validation of intelligence, language, and wonder does have some value."
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