9.1.) Related musicals:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Ian Fleming’s book was published in 1964 like Dahl’s Charlie, and it was Roald Dahl who wrote the screenplay for the musical film version (starring Dick van Dyke), which in turn provides the basis for the stage musical. Fleming’s inventor character, Caractacus Potts, nicknamed Commander “Crackpot,” turns insult to success with Crackpots Whistling Candies, also nicknamed “Crackpots;” they’re “Toot Sweets/Woof Sweets” in the film. The candies are just a sideline creation for Potts, though the book does feature a visit to the world-famous (imaginary) Parisian fudge shop of Monsieur Bon-Bon.
Doctor Dolittle: Anthony Newley, who co-composed “The Candy Man” song (from the Charlie film & stage version), costars & sings in this 70s-era musical about a quirky English vet (Rex Harrison) who can actually talk to animals. Based on the children’s books by Hugh Lofting.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: This animated musical from the same team who made the Willy Wonka movie, director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman, tells the story of Jack Skellinton, who becomes tired of Halloween and decides to try out Santa’s job of producing Christmas– with disastrous results. A story about accepting oneself.
The Chocolate Soldier, an operetta by Oscar Strauss, is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man– and listed here because it involves chocolates. According to Prof. Bill Messenger, Shaw loathed this operetta and swore never to allow another of his plays to be turned into a musical– especially not Pygmalion. Obviously, Shaw’s wishes were disregarded after his death, so we have Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady.
9.2) Research the songwriters Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, and listen to some of their famous or award-winning songs. Which musicals did they compose together? For which two James Bond movie theme songs are they responsible? Which superhero movie helped make Bricusse’s song “Can You Read My Mind” famous? Which appeared on the British soap opera EastEnders? Which wrote lyrics for the musical Jekyll & Hyde?
9.3) For serious teens and adults who want to learn more about the history of American musical theater, consider borrowing or buying (approx $70 when on sale) the Teaching Company’s / Great Courses 16-lecture DVD course “Great American Music: Broadway Musicals.” Pianist and Prof. Bill Messenger, of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, surveys musicals from the Minstrel Era of the 1800s through the era of “Big Bucks and Long Runs: 1970s- Present” (last reference, 2005). Willy Wonka is not specifically discussed, but the course helps place it in context—and the course guidebook has an extensive bibliography so you can follow-up, read & learn as much as you want about Wonka or any favorite musical.
17 Sep 2011 — music sections posted here