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Hodge has Wonka’s golden ticket

Published October 11, 2012

Olivier Award winner Douglas Hodge will follow in the footsteps of screen icons Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp to play Roald Dahl’s saviour of sweets Willy Wonka in new musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

The munchable new musical will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 25 June next year, with tickets going on sale next Monday.

Hodge, the only member of the show’s cast to be announced so far, has had fruitful associations with a chocolate factory in the past, having won both an Olivier Award and Tony Award for his performance in La Cage Aux Folles, a production which started life at the Off-West End Menier Chocolate Factory. He returned to the venue earlier this year to direct a production of Torch Song Trilogy.

Away from cocoa, Hodge has worked extensively on the London stage, with companies including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Court. He recently spent three years as Associate Director at the Donmar Warehouse, where he gave his last London stage appearance in Inadmissible Evidence, and can currently be seen on Broadway taking the title role in Cyrano De Bergerac.

In Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Hodge will play the mercurial owner of the titular sweet production plant, who decides to give away five golden tickets inside his confectionary, the finders of which will receive an exclusive guided tour of his mysterious creation. But as Charlie and his quartet of co-winners look around, it quickly becomes apparent that the sugar-coating is hiding some sour secrets.

The show, which is already one of the most anticipated of 2013, will be directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, whose new Bond film Skyfall opens this autumn. Award-winning playwright David Greig provides the stage adaptation, while Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the team behind Hairspray and hit TV show Smash, provide the music and lyrics.

Before Hodge brings his supply of everlasting gobstoppers to Drury Lane, Shrek The Musical continues to entertain family audiences with its tale of an angry ogre and talkative donkey who embark on an unusual quest in which they discover more than they bargained for. The show, which like Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is co-produced by Mendes’ Neal Street Productions, will run until 24 February 2013.