The Candy Man Is Coming To Clowes In Beloved Musical

October 18, 2021

“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” – Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel. Used with permission

After a lengthy hiatus, due to nearly months and months of sickness, loss, isolation, social upheaval and general uncertainly, the public yearns for live entertainment and is flocking to the theatre in droves. Luckily for Central Indiana, the popular Broadway in Indianapolis series is returning with its first show “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which opens at Clowes Memorial Hall on Tuesday, October 19 and runs through Sunday, October 24.

Based on the 1964 children’s novel of the same title, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the musical, opened on Broadway in 2017 and was created by Roald Dahl, with book by David Greig, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

“Charlie” includes songs from the 1971 film version “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder. The musical tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a young boy who comes from a poor, but loving family and would love nothing more than to find a golden ticket to enter the amazing chocolate factory run by inventor and owner Willy Wonka. Luckily, Charlie finds the last golden ticket and goes on the once-in-a-lifetime adventure with his Grandpa Joe.

“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” – Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel. Used with permission

Playing the lead, Willy Wonka, in the second national tour of the show coming to Clowes is Cody Garcia, who took time to answer some questions I sent him via email while on his current stop prior to the run in Indy. Below is our exchange.

Where are you currently?

Currently in tech rehearsals at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, New York.

When did the tour resume?

We started rehearsing September 20th.

How many stops have you made thus far?

So far, one! Syracuse. We rehearsed, tech’d and are opening here!

Were you with the tour when it started in January of 2020?

I was! We opened in Miami on New Year’s Day of 2020. It seemed like 2020 was going to be a great year. But then the craziest thing happened…

What was it like when the tour shut down due to the pandemic?

I wasn’t too worried. I was expecting a two-week period in which COVID could get properly dealt with. As we all witnessed, that wound up not being the case.

Besides not being able to perform, how did the pandemic affect you?

Not being able to perform was a huge thing I had to deal with in the pandemic. I’ve been acting on stage my whole life. I even went to school for it. Now all of a sudden, that thing I (and all of my acting companions) had been doing our entire lives was shut down overnight. Having that time off forced me to do a lot of soul searching to determine what I would ever want to do if theatre wasn’t an option, but it made me stronger on the other side.

Did the pandemic have a silver lining for you?

“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” – Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel. Used with permission

Knowing I was coming back to this tour whenever the pandemic was “over” was definitely a light at the end of that very long, bumpy and continuous tunnel. That was a challenging time for everyone, but one highlight was my venture to Costa Rica, where I studied massage therapy. Learning that and surrounding myself in that culture and those amazing people really did have an effect on who I am today.

What did it teach you?

When you are confronted with an unprecedented situation, you realize we’re all just trying to make it through, and that is absolutely okay.

How is it being on stage again?

It feels surreal and crazy. You forget just how much work goes into creating a show and a character, but I love it.

How is the touring experience?

I love touring. I love seeing places all over the country/continent/world and trying restaurants all over the place!

Why does “Wonka” endure?

Wonka is lucky enough to exist in a world Roald Dahl created and exaggerated, but he still lives within the confines of humanity. The story and its lessons are also timeless, and everyone can relate to the messages within.

What is its message?

“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” – Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel. Used with permission

I always took it as a fable about parenting/family. I don’t want to say, “It’s about this” because I don’t want to take away anyone’s experience to interpret what they see. But I have always imagined it’s a warning on overindulgence, pride, technology and understanding our children.

What do you enjoy most about your character The Candy Man?

I love how absolutely outlandish and quirky The Candy Man allows me to be.

What do you hope audiences take away from seeing it?

I hope audiences leave having had a great time, interpreting the show however they desire, and become curious about other musicals and eager to go see them when they come through, or at their regional/local theatres. Support the arts.

Overall, what can audiences expect from this production?

Audiences can expect to hear familiar songs from the 1971 film such as “The Candy Man,” “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” and “Pure Imagination.” There are also new songs written for the show by the creators of “Hairspray.” Overall, it’s a colorful production that allows audiences to expand their imaginations.

“Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” will play eight performances at Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler Arts Center in Indianapolis from October 19-24, 2021. Tickets are on sale now and available at and Ticketmaster. The performance schedule is Tuesday-Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.











photo: Josh Humble

About Tom

Journalist, producer, director, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, arts administrator, TV contributor, actor, model, writer and lyricist, Tom Alvarez has had an extensive career in media and the fine arts and continues to be an enthusiastic and devoted fan of both. His passion and unique background grant him insight, access and perspective to cover, promote and review the arts in Indianapolis, Central Indiana and beyond. Follow him on social media @tomalvarezartswriter and @tomalvarez1.

Alvarez has been writing about theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts for 40 years. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Arts Indiana, Unite Magazine, Dance Magazine, NOTE Magazine, and, among many other print and online platforms. A former contributor to Across Indiana on WFYI-TV, he currently has a regular performing arts segment on WISH-TV’s Indy Style.

A principal of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC, Alvarez co-created “Calder, The Musical” and is the managing director of Magic Thread Cabaret. As an actor-model, he has appeared in numerous TV and print ads and is represented by the Helen Wells Agency and Heyman Talent Artists Agency.

On the Aisle Team

  • Creation, content, and publishing: Tom Alvarez
  • Copy editing: Shannon Samson
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