A spacious venue branded “Wonka Chocolate Factory” in big gold letters is currently nestled in the heart of New York’s theater district, but as Monday’s New York Times report tells it, don’t let the signage fool you: The Willy Wonka Candy Company is no more. Producers of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Broadway musical have been left “frustrated” by the recent turn of events, going to great pains to recreate the iconic candy line — formally discontinued by Nestlé in 2015 — for attendees. They’ve packaged Hershey’s bars and Dylan’s Candy bars in golden wrappers, and have overwhelmed the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre’s lobby with a glitzy Dylan’s pop-up. (The goal was “to capture the spirit, if not the exact substance, of Wonka’s factory,” according to the Times.) But those with a special Wonka Bar–shaped space in their heart are far from satisfied. One “confectionary historian” interviewed by the Times calls the whole situation “a real tragedy.” Luke Kelly, Roald Dahl’s grandson, provided some historical context, lamenting that “for the first time in decades, there is no Wonka candy at all.”
Perhaps most cruelly: Children have been denied their dream Chocolate Factory souvenir. Production of the Wonka Bar ceased in the midst of the musical’s original West End run, meaning attendees could no longer buy the well-promoted candy at a concession stand. Producer Kevin McCormack attended the closing night, and recounted, sadly, what he saw: “I sat there as kids kept going up to people selling ice cream and saying, ‘Can I get a Wonka bar?’” Oof. There may only be one appropriate (if slightly harsh) way to respond.