Next month sees the launch of a huge new musical at London's Drury Lane Theatre, with tickets now on sale and expected to go fast.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the world's best-loved children's books and the Roald Dahl tale has enjoyed several successful adaptations in the past – including the legendary 1971 Gene Wilder version and a more recent outing that starred Johnny Depp, both of whom played the eccentric, reclusive chocolatier Willy Wonka.
Now, Sam Mendes – still basking in the success of last year's Bond film Skyfall, which he directed, and enjoying an increasing reputation as a national treasure – has overseen the first production of a never-before-seen musical based on the novel.
With a budget of £10 million, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory promises to be the biggest musical event of the summer, and those staying in luxury hotels in London next month have a chance to be among its first audiences.
Preview performances are held from May 17th and ticket prices start at £14.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of a boy who finds a golden ticket and subsequently wins the trip of lifetime – entering a fantastical factory staffed by Oompa-Loompas who carry out the bidding of a deeply secretive confectionary genius.
However, as his fellow prizewinners suffer increasingly gruesome fates, it transpires that things are not quite as they seem.
The Drury Lane Theatre has assembled some stellar talent to support Mendes. The musical's songs are written by the same team who created Hairspray, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, accompanying a script by David Greig – a playwright whose works have graced the National Theatre.
Meanwhile Willy Wonka will be played by Douglas Hodge, the Olivier Award-winning star of La Cage aux Folles and the BBC's television adaptation of Middlemarch.
The theatre is one of the West End's leading venues and easily reached via the Covent Garden Underground station.