Northbrook Native Leads Cast Of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Tour

Lisa Fielding
October 09, 2018 - 2:09 pm

Broadway in Chicago

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Noah Weisberg remembers his days with the Northbrook Park District Children's Theater.

"I was playing baseball and I didn't really like it that much, but one summer my mom suggested I go to a theater camp instead of baseball and I said yes, please and that changed my life. I think I was 9-years old," he recalls.

"My first show at the Children's Theater in Northbrook, I had two lines."

WBBM: Do you remember the show?

"It was Babes in Toyland."

Weisberg said he grew up watching stage shows and musicals with his parents in Chicago's theater district.

"I remember the national tour of A Chorus Line coming through. I saw these Broadway people in our hometown at one of the big theaters here and I thought to myself, I need to do that, I have to do that," he said.

A graduate of Glenbrook North, he said his drama courses set the stage for the rest of his life.

"So much of my life, I think of my high school. It was such a theater school. We put on these amazing productions, but they were really professional. They taught us how to be on time, to be professional. I still use those skills on Broadway today," he said.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

At 18, he moved to New York City to attend New York University and majored in musical theater. Shortly after, he was doing summer theater in New Jersey.

"I couldn't believe they were paying me to sing and dance and be around 40 other people who love theater as much as I do. We did six shows a week that summer," he said.

He soon landed roles in "Legally Blonde,” “South Pacific,” “Elf” and “Enron”

Now, Weisberg is playing the biggest role of his career:  The iconic Willie Wonka in the national tour of "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory."

Broadway in Chicago

"I was living in LA, when I got the call to audition. I was so excited. I love this movie, I love Gene Wilder, I love the book and I wanted to see what we were going to do with it," he said.

Weisberg said he did a little research to play the part, but wanted to make it his own.

"I grew up watching the movie, but I didn't rewatch the movie. I wanted to bring myself within the character. I did my own version. People are coming to the stage door and saying wow you really have some of that Gene Wilder quality. I think that may be just luck and things I remember as a kid. Willie Wonka is like this weird guy who can flip on a dime. He can be super sweet and then scream at the kids a second later, but Willie Wonka is really an innocent kid at heart and that's what I love most about him," Weisberg said.

Broadway in Chicago

The cast kicked off the tour in Buffalo and Chicago is its second stop. He said performing in his hometown is already the highlight.

"My heart is Chicago. My whole family is here. My favorite restaurants are here, but I've never performed here in this capacity," he said, shaking his head.

"I sat in the very theater, the Oriental Theater and watched shows that inspired me to do this," he said. "To have my friends from high school, my high school director, my choir teacher, my children's theater director, it's cliche, but it's a literal dream come true."

Weisberg and the cast of Charlie is at the Oriental Theater through Oct. 21.