Meet the “Willy Wonka” cast: Jack Oelslager enjoys musical theater

Jack Oelslager as Grandpa Joe, and Addison Payne as Charlie Bucket.

From now until opening day on March 14, The Livingston Post will be profiling cast members of the Hartland Encore Youth Theater production of “Willy Wonka Jr.”

Seventh-grader Jack Oelslager, 13, who plays Grandpa Joe, is the son of Kim and Jeff Oelslager. He has a sibling named Izzie. He plays baseball, and his hobbies include piano, choir, painting/drawing, and hanging out with friends. In the future, he’d like to do something with musical  theaer, movies, or in the food industry as a baker or cook.

1. How did you get involved with the production?
Ever since 3rd grade I’ve been in musical theater and I’ve always loved it. In 6th grade one of my friends got me to audition “Dracs Back,” my first play with Hartland Encore, and got a part. Ever since then I’ve been involved with Hartland Encore Youth Theater and their musicals/ plays.

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
I also have been in Hartland Encore’s “Dracs Back” as Dreggs, “Seussical” as a Wickersham Brother, “Matilda the Musical” as Nigel, Scranton Middle School’s “Aladdin Jr.” as Aladdin, and now “Willy Wonka Jr.” as Grandpa Joe.

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
I really love when the show all comes together during the last week of rehearsal because we’ve all worked so hard and to see it all come together at once is a wonderful experience.

4. What’s your motivation?
I really strive to try my hardest so in the end the audience experiences a show that they will never forget.

5. What’s your favorite experience?
One of my favorite experiences throughout all the shows I’ve been in are the friendships that I’ve made through the years.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show?
I think they should definitely expect a fun-filled show so magical that they won’t forget it.

“Willy Wonka Jr.” will be performed at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Hartland Performing Arts Center, 9525 E Highland Rd. Tickets are $6 for students and seniors, and $8 for adults, and are available at


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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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