Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

London Production

Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Previews 18 May to 24 June 2013
Press Night 25 June 2013
The Theatre Royal Drury Lane production ran until 7th January 2017 after 1293 performances. The show was then scheduled to go on a UK tour.

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl
Book: David Greig
Music & Lyrics: Marc Shaiman
Lyrics: Scott Wittman
Directed by Sam Mendes
Choreography: Peter Darling
Set & Costume Design: Mark Thompson
Lighting Design: Paul Pyant
Sound Design: Paul Arditti
Video & Projection Design: Jon Driscoll
Puppet & Illusion Designer: Jamie Harrison
Music Supervisor: Nicholas Skilbeck
Orchestrations: Doug Besterman
Musical Director: Toby Higgins

Produced in the West End by Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Langley Park Productions.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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LSI: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (July 2013)
[2.61Mb PDF]
From Lighting & Sound International

London Photo Gallery

Broadway Production

The show has been reworked for Broadway, including new songs and a new set design.

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Previews: March 28 2017
Press Night: April 23, 2017
Closed: January 14, 2018

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl
David Greig
Music & Lyrics: Marc Shaiman
Lyrics: Scott Wittman
Directed by Jack O’Brien
Choreography: Joshua Bergasse
Set & Costume Design: Mark Thompson
Lighting Design: Japhy Weideman
Sound Design: Andrew Keister
Projection Design: Jeff Sugg
Puppet Designer: Basil Twist
Production Props Supervisor: Buist Bickley
Orchestrations: Doug Besterman
Musical Director: Toby Higgins
Casting: Telsey & Company

Produced on Broadway by Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Langley Park Productions.


West End Trailer


A massive publicity campaign was used to build public interest in the show. The London teaser trailer below was published online on March 25, 2013, three months before the press night of the show.

From the official website:
“ROALD DAHL’s deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Mr Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical directed by Academy Award¸ winner Sam Mendes. When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors and amongst the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.

Featuring ingenious puppetry and special effects, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Grammy¸ winners for Hairspray; Smash), a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig (The Bacchae; Tintin In Tibet), set and costume designs by Mark Thompson (Mamma Mia!; One Man, Two Guvnors) and choreography by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot; Matilda).

A chocolate garden, an army of squirrels and the curiously peculiar Oompa-Loompas must be believed to be seen in this spectacular new musical that is choc-full of fantastical treats to dazzle your senses.”

Technical Information – London

The Great Glass Elevator

Although the production originally featured a complex elevator which was lifted out of the stage floor on an hydraulic arm, and which floated across the stage impressively, the bespoke system was plagued with problems, and after a year or so of trying to keep it working, the production abandoned the idea, instead using an elevator mounted on a hydraulic platform which was wheeled across the stage. The ‘wow factor’ was dramatically reduced, but the show was able to continue without problems.
As the hydraulic pumps, valves & other control equipment were installed in the theatre prior to the stage deck being fitted, it was a complex maintenance issue when things started going wrong. There was always a backup plan involving a second elevator on a wheeled platform, and it’s a shame that this became the only option. As the arm and elevator had to contort to fit under the stage as well as safely carrying two actors above the orchestra pit, it was just too complex a system – without building a complete duplicate of the theatre and stage floor, it was not possible to test the system fully until it was installed.
> TAIT blog entry about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Scenic Automation

As well as the Great Glass Elevator, the automation system also includes two Explorer trucks, controlled from the Acrobat desk but utilising a laser guidance system for positioning. The trucks are used extensively throughout Act 1 to create different shapes upstage, downstage and across the stage. The challenge in this instance was that the system had to triangulate its position whilst traveling on a raked stage and position accurately whilst other scenic elements moved around it. Given the raked stage, uneven centres of gravity in the trucks and the amount of other moving scenery with the potential to obscure any or all of the lines of sight for the guidance system, it took complex programming to reach a safe, secure and reliable programme for the long-term.

The automation system consists of:

  • 20  counterweight assist winches (BT200 winches)
  • 18 grid point hoists: 13 x BT200, 4 x BT390 (including two winches on the “Oompa Gantry, a large flown bridge with 16 performers on board) and  1 x BT490
  • 4 tracking axes:  2 x BT Classic winches and 2 x MiniTow winches
  • 3 in set motors
  • 6 floor tracks (2 x BT Classic, 3 x belt drives, 1 x BT 390)
  • 2  winch driven stage lifts
  • 2  Hydraulic Drop and slide doors
  • 3  Hydraulic trap doors
  • 10  Au:tour 6 racks with a variation of drive sizes
  • 2  Au:tour link & e-stop hubs
  • 1  bespoke control cabinet containing hydraulic control, a couple of drives and IO control
  • 2  on board control cabinets for the shack trucks (explorer trucks)
  • 1 Hydraulic pump control panel
  • 1  Acrobat desk for show running
  • 1  Acrobat desk for FOH programming
  • 1  HMI for explorer truck configuration
  • 1  server

“Glass Elevator” (original design)

  • Hydraulic ram driven telescoping tower (to lift arm and elevator out of basement)
  • 7 hydraulic & electric axes on elevator
  • 1  bespoke hydraulic & electric control cabinet
  • 1  pump control for 5 hydraulic pumps
  • 1 electrically driven rotate slew (mounted on top of tower, to rotate arm mechanism)
  • 2 large proportionally controlled hydraulic rams (elbow mechanism)
  • 1 proportionally controlled telescoping extending arm
  • 1 electrical actuator (for tilt compensation)
  • 1 electrical actuator (for elevator rotate compensation)

“Shacks” Trucks (x2):

  • 2  Explorer trucks (2 x steer and 2 x drive motors in each truck)
  • Each truck has two drive wheels and two steer axes
  • Laser guidance system
  • On-board control and battery
  • Radio control system
  • All the above are delivered as modular bolt-in units to fit within any scenic element required.

TAIT blog entry about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Set Design

The Writing Process


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