Theater News

Director Sam Mendes Bows Out of Broadway-Bound Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Mendes helmed the hit West End production of the musical, which has been running for two years.

Douglas Hodge in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka in the West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
(© Helen Maybanks)

An upcoming Broadway mounting of Sam Mendes' hit West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory won't feature Mendes at the helm, according to published reports. Mendes, who bowed out due to film commitments, will likely be replaced by Tony winner Jack O'Brien. A transfer, which has not officially announced, is expected to take place during the 2016-2017 season.

O'Brien collaborated on the musicals Hairspray and Catch Me If You Can with Charlie songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Based on the children's novel by Roald Dahl, the show features a book by David Grieg which tells the story of young Charlie, a poor young man who finds a golden ticket that allows him to visit the mysterious chocolate factory of the even more mysterious Willy Wonka.

Mendes' West End creative team for the production includes Peter Darling (choreography), Nicholas Skilbeck (musical direction), Mark Thompson (scenic and costume design), Paul Pyant (lighting design), Paul Arditti (sound design), and Jon Driscoll (video and projections).

The West End production has been running at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane since May 2013. The original cast was led by Tony and Olivier winner Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles). A formal announcement about the Broadway production is expected in the coming weeks.