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      Willy Wonka comes to Escanaba

      Cue the lights, camera, and music.

      Thirty-eight children and 12 adults have been hard at work singing and dancing their hearts out.

      Veteran actor, Jimmy Bruce, plays Willy Wonka.

      ??Well, he's kind of an imaginary character,?? explains Bruce. ??He has a chocolate factory, and he wants everybody to live in their imagination. He??s actually created the biggest and best candy empire the world has ever known."

      From golden tickets to Wonka Bars, the production is sure to delight audiences.

      Over 120 local youth tried out. Those who made the cut have been rehearsing non-stop.

      ??I know all my parts already,?? says Mikhail Moran, who plays Charlie Bucket, ??and I know some of my songs and all the steps. I just have to learn a few more things. So I think I??m almost prepared."

      Dan Young plays Grandpa Joe. Young is returning to the theater after a hiatus, and he says he's impressed with the talent and energy of his castmates.

      ??The kids are great,?? says Young. ??They're like little sponges, and they want to be here, and they just soak up everything that they're told to do."

      Officials say producing the musical gives children an opportunity to explore and take part in community theater.

      Tickets for the show cost $15 and are available at www.playersdenoc.org.

      There'll be at 7 p.m. performance July 12-14 and a matinee on July 15 at 2 p.m.