Hayden Acting isn't as difficult when the character is easy to play or the story is familiar, so it should come as no surprise that Chris Zirkle has little trouble playing the quirky Willy Wonka.
Having seen snippets of the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Zirkle knows how wild and wacky Willy Wonka is. During Wednesday's rehearsal in the Hayden High School auditorium, Zirkle was flailing his arms and changing his tone to sound a little loony - but just right for one of the lead roles in the Class Act Productions' rendition of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
"He's great," director Kathy Deepe said.
Of course, Deepe feels that way about the entire cast, which includes young actors playing Oompa-Loompas and more veteran actors such as Richard Bush, who stars as Grandpa Joe.
Young Liam Delaney, clean cut and fresh-faced, plays the role of Charlie Bucket, the poor, young boy who unexpectedly finds a Golden Ticket in a Wonka chocolate bar.
And that is where the Hayden's version of the popular family classic kicks off.
The performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the high school auditorium. Tickets for adults are $5 and children are $3. Hayden students and adults 65 and older are free.
"A lot of us know the movies," said Mallory McGowen, who is one of two narrators. "It made it easier to get into character."
Pianist Dana Haskins brings popular tunes such as "Candy Man" and "Pure Imagination" to life with the help of young vocalists who have worked tirelessly since October auditions to memorize lines, poems and songs.
"I wanted to be an Oompa-Loompa," Savannah Williams said. "When I saw the part, I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' It has four big poems and all the songs, but we split the poems up to help."
It is difficult to tell what the most entertaining portion of this weekend's show will be. Deepe said the costumes and makeup are spectacular.
The sets, built and painted under the direction of Susan Koehler, are exquisite.
The acting is great, including the young children and their parents who are greedy, snotty or spoiled - except for young Charlie.
"You have great chemistry," Deepe told her actors before Wednesday's rehearsal began. "The crowd is going to eat you up."
But, with all the references to marshmallows, fudge and chocolate rivers during the play, the crowd may want to consider eating dinner - and dessert - before showing up to this weekend's show.