SYSK: North Star cast and crew of Willy Wonka - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: North Star cast and crew of Willy Wonka

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

"It's the musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory called Willy Wonka," said Greg Holt.

Greg Holt is the director of the musical at North Star Community Services in Waterloo.

Many of the actors and backstage crew are consumers of North Star meaning people with special needs.

"It gives them an opportunity to do things they've never really had an opportunity to do before, that's the main thing. It's also a terrific opportunity for them to show everybody in the community what people with disabilities can do," said North Star Executive Director Mark Witmer.

Rehearsals for Willy Wonka take place three days a week. The cast and crew is getting ready to perform for the community on May 11th.

"Some of the consumers have just bowled me over. I've just been so impressed with their singing ability, their acting ability. You can't believe it. There's some real hidden talent," said Witmer.

Most of the cast is played by consumers, but they also have some outside help.

"Some of the characters like Willy Wonka, the kids with the golden tickets and the narrator are folks from the community," said Greg Holt.

Director Greg Holt said putting the show together is a team effort. From the cast to the art director, the costume designer, the music director and the staff at North Star.

It's definitely a lot of work that's worth it in the end.

"Ultimately it's so rewarding to see the joy on all of the actors' faces and how special it is for them to be involved in the process," said Holt.

North Star Community Services plans to put on a play or musical every other year.

Willy Wonka is set to be performed on Wednesday, May 11th at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls. There's no charge to attend the show.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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