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HMS presents Willy Wonka Junior next week

Britta Johnson as Grandma Josephine (left), Lindsey Becker as Charlie and TJ Strandberg as Willy Wonka practice at one of their dress rehearsals. (Star Gazette photo by Katrina Styx)

Get ready for a musical treat. Sixty-three students in grades six through eight will come together to produce their fall musical, Willy Wonka Junior, Oct. 26 and Oct. 28.

Staff decided on the musical, a variation on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, about a year ago, said one of the directors, Michelle Munger. It demands a little more from the students than last year's production of School House Rock.

"We wanted something to challenge the kids musically," she said.

Willy Wonka Junior does that, but the actors are up to the challenge - especially Lindsey Becker, who plays Charlie.

That's right, Charlie's a girl.

"When (Lindsey) auditioned, we just saw Charlie," Munger said.

Grandpa Joe stays at home while Grandma Josephine joins Charlie on her adventure, but other than that, the plot sticks pretty closely to the original story.

Both performances start at 7 p.m. at the middle school auditorium.

"It's a great hour of music and entertainment," Munger said.

The main cast includes: TJ Strandberg as Willy Wonka, Lindsey Becker as Charlie, Britta Johnson as Grandma Josephine, Brady Burkhart as Mr. Bucket, Sabrina Astar as Mrs. Bucket, Cole Tipler as James, Gina Knoll as Matilda, Ronnie Peterson as Phineous, James McCord as Augustus, Rachel Peterson as Mrs. Gloop, Trina Walt as Veruca, Kathrine McCord as Mrs. Salt, Debbie Blissenbach as Violet, Mary McCord as Mrs. Beauregarde, Anthony Simpson as Mike Teavee, Aleaha Zabel as Mrs. Teavee, Reece Reimer as Grandpa Joe, Megan Lyons as Grandma Georgina and Alex Tribe as Grandpa George.

Oompa Loompas are: Mary Parizek, Marisa Schommer, Clinton Toughill, Carly Riese, Megan Vortherms, Maggie Cargin, Jordan Almeida, Abigail Small, Grace Human, Jack Weldon, Abby Knoll, Georgia Illa, Amelia Hoffbeck, Claire Kilfoyl, Micaela Howley, Becca Francis, Sarah Hardy, Marinna Smallidge, Anne Fox, Avery Birt, Krista Gomez, Jenna McCabe, Megan Shoen, Autum Kuske, Torie Nordine, Jenna Green, Paige Aherns, CeCe Roche, Kenzie Kilmer, Megan England, Kaley Oshman, Josee Peterson, Grace Holm and Elizabeth Bruch-Andersen.