Roald Dahl’s books have all slowly but surely been adapted (in some form or another) over the years. On the big screen, the most recent attempt to adapt Dahl’s work was Wes Anderson’s (in this writer’s opinion) abominable attempt to turn one of the author’s finest children’s books into a quirky animated heist for adults – “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The first, however, and arguably best Dahl cinematic adaptation was Mel Stuart’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (an adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) back in 1971 featuring an unforgettable performance from Gene Wilder. We’ve seen the book adapted since (and with less success) by Tim Burton, and the story that remains one of Dahl’s most famous and loved will now be making its way to the stage thanks to “American Beauty” and “Skyfall” director Sam Mendes.
Mendes was reportedly considering leaving “Skyfall” back when MGM were embroiled in all their legal and financial issues a couple of years back, and he was eyeing up a directing gig on a theatrical musical adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” With his work on “Skyfall” nearly complete, Mendes will return to that project and will start work on the stage play with a view to it debuting in London in June 2013. Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman — Tony and Grammy winners for their work on “Hairspray” –- will pen new songs for the musical with a book from Scottish playwright David Greig.
Considering the popularity of Dahl’s story and the talent on board it seems like a no-brainer to suggest that this could well be something special. The show also arrives in the wake of the runaway success of “Matilda the Musical,” which debuted in Stratford for a 12-week run in 2010 before making the move to a West End stage in November last year and going on to win seven Olivier awards amid near-universal critical praise. This penniless writer can attest to the fact that ‘Matilda’ is still one of the hottest (and priciest) tickets in town, and Mendes’ ‘Charlie’ will surely be looking to ride on the coattails of its success. Tickets for the production will go on general sale to the public in October 2012. [via Vulture]