Three-time Olivier winner Alex Jennings will replace Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka in the West End's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hodge has played the role of Wonka, the strange owner of a sweet factory, since the musical adaptation opened in June 2013. Jennings is set to begin performances on May 19. Directed by Sam Mendes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory continues its record-breaking run at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Jennings is the only performer to have won an Olivier Award in the Drama, Musical and Comedy categories, winning Best Actor for Peer Gynt, Best Actor in a Musical for My Fair Lady and Best Comedy Performance for Too Clever By Half. His other stage credits include Untold Stories, The Habit of Art, Stuff Happens, The Winter’s Tale, The Relapse, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Liar, The Wild Duck, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Country Wife.
Based on Roald Dahl’s dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka, the musical centers on what happens when Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory. Beyond the gates astonishment awaits, though the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features a book by David Greig and music and lyrics by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.