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When “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” arrives at the Peace Center Oct. 1, families can prepare for a beautiful, engaging show and a rare focus on a child leading the way. 

Madeleine Doherty, a veteran of six Broadway shows, including Grandma Georgina in the original cast of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” five national tours and more than 50 regional productions, portrays Mrs. Teavee. She is a mother and a grandmother and will be making her third stop in Greenville. Doherty said interacting with the audience is a highlight of being a part of this show.

“The audience is always the other scene partner in any show,” she said. “With musicals and comedy, it’s particularly an intricate part of it. You have this symbiotic relationship with the audience. It varies in different towns how explosive the laughter is.”

Because the story of Charlie Bucket is widely known to grandparents, parents and children, Doherty has seen that reflected in the show’s audience. For some of the youngest watching her, this is their first such experience.

“We’re all aware of that,” she said. “Often, you don’t get a glimpse of that until they come to the stage door after. When you get to interact with your audience at the stage door, that’s often where you really understand some of their history.”

While Doherty said the entire show is visually exciting, there is one role that can be especially inspiring to children in the audience. Charlie Bucket – portrayed by Henry Boshart, Brendan Reilly Harris or Rueby Wood, depending on the performance – is one of them.

“I think the thing that will be most impressive for them is for kids to watch the young man who plays Charlie,” Doherty said.

The actor carries almost all of the first act and is prominent in the second act as well.

“The is really unusual for a young actor of 11 or 12 years old to do,” she said. “It’s a huge responsibility. Act One is solely about Charlie and his journey to secure a golden ticket. For kids to watch that – a kid up there doing that – it is incredibly impressive. I’m sure many kids can’t even put into words what they’re seeing because they are seeing a kid close to their ages carrying this show.”

Children often have important roles on stage, but few include this much to do.

“Charlie Bucket, that is a different animal,” Doherty said. “There is so much material.”

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is presented Oct. 1 – 6 at the Peace Center. Tickets are available at https://www.peacecenter.org

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