Noah Weisberg is enjoying bringing the sweets king Willy Wonka to life in the touring production of "Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
"The thing I love most about it is the story," Weisberg said, about the tale of Charlie Bucket and his grandpa Joe who take a tour of an amazing chocolate factory where wonder, fascination and dreams abound.
"There are five kids who go on a factory tour. Four of them are out for themselves and self-centered," he said. Charlie, however is "pure and sweet" and a perfect example of a kind person.
"He shows that kindness wins the day," Weisberg said. "That's a great message to be traveling around the country with."
The actor, who is a native of Northbrook, Illinois, said he was looking forward to performing in Chicago because a number of family members and friends would be coming to see the show while it was here.
"Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," continues through Oct. 21 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. The Chicago engagement is only the second stop on the tour.
While Weisberg said he never actually performed in the Windy City prior to "Charlie," he was always very familiar with the Chicago theater scene.
"I saw a lot of shows at the Oriental," he said.
Weisberg said audiences are really taking to the show.
"Kids love it but adults are loving this too," he said. "I grew up watching the movie and being a huge fan of it. I loved it."
Weisberg said he remembers playing the role of Grandpa Joe in a Northbrook Park District production of the show when he was a kid.
When Weisberg found out he got the role of Wonka in the musical, he said he was tempted to watch the movie again. "But I decided not to. Gene Wilder was so genius in it. And I didn't want to duplicate (any of his mannerisms)," he said, adding it's impossible to compete with the famed actor.
Weisberg said he likes that the Wonka character is such a lover of "imagination, creativity and art."
He said the show itself is filled with an abundance of "heart and sincerity" but it's also extremely funny.
"Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is directed by Jack O'Brien and features music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Songs included from the 1971 movie are by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.
FYI: "Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" continues to Oct. 21 at The Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. For tickets and more information, visit BroadwayInChicago.com.