Meet the“Willy Wonka Jr.” cast: Jayan Raju perfects a German accent

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.”

Jayan Raju, 12, plays Augustus Gloop. The son of Jessica Raju and Jai Raju, he has three siblings: Trenton Lytle, Gayatri Raj Ghosh, and Pratik Ghosh. He is in the sixth grade and participates in swimming. He also enjoys reading and seeing Broadway shows. He intends to attend Central Michigan University to study musical theater.

1. How did you get involved with the production?
I love Encore Youth theater and when I heard about this show i knew I had to audition.

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play? 

“101 Dalmatians JR.,” (Scottie); “Honk! JR. (Jay Bird); “Madagascar JR.,” (Marty); “Seussical JR., (The Cat In the Hat); “Matilda the Musical” (Bruce); “The Addams Family Musical,” (Pugsley); “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” (Leroy); “Frozen JR.,” (Male Swing/ Hidden Folk/ Male Waltz).

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production? 

Being German! I have had a blast trying to perfect a German accent. And trying to act and think like a German person.

4. Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why? 

In past productions, I have worked with high schoolers who inspire me every single day. I want to be just like them.

5. What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
Hanging out with a bunch of artsy friends and learning more and more about my passion each day.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show? 

A lively production that has some of the feels from the 1971 movie and the Johnny Depp version. It’s a really great show for families

“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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