Clawson kids theater debuts feature film

‘Joey Jonka and the Caramel Warehouse’ promises lots of laughs

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published September 16, 2015

 Members of the Acting Out Kids Community Theatre film a scene in Clawson City Park for the group’s first feature film, “Joey Jonka and the Caramel Warehouse.”

Members of the Acting Out Kids Community Theatre film a scene in Clawson City Park for the group’s first feature film, “Joey Jonka and the Caramel Warehouse.”

Photo provided by the Acting Out Kids Community Theatre


CLAWSON — What happens when you combine a community’s youth theater, a movie classic and some creative kids? The film premier of “Joey Jonka and the Caramel Warehouse.”

The film — a parody of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” — is the latest creation of the Acting Out Kids Community Theatre, a group originated and run entirely by children.

“It’s a very funny movie, but it has adult humor in it,” said actor and theater co-founding member Max Siwek, 12.

The movie is about what ensues after Joey Jonka and his two sisters absentmindedly distribute too many opportunities for children to tour the caramel warehouse in an effort to boost sales without thinking of the consequences.

“So, instead of putting out five golden tickets like in the original movie,” said actor and theatre co-founding member Madison Siwek, 15, “he sends out thousands of platinum passes all across the world.”

In the end, Joey Jonka narrows the crazy and numerous auditions down to five kids and they go on a wacky tour of the warehouse, participating in challenges based off of popular TV reality shows.

“It’s really funny and there are a lot of great characters,” Madison Siwek said.

After a season of acting and improv classes, drop-in events and its first play, the group decided to give movie-making a shot.

The cast and crew of about 25 kids from throughout metro Detroit filmed the movie entirely in Clawson over the summer.

“Actually making the movie, a lot of times we were outside and it wasn’t very good weather,” said Ellie Miller, 11. “But it was a lot of fun.”

Mom to Max and Madison, Nicole Siwak, said the kids worked hard and a lot of times were in heavy costumes.

“These kids were troupers,” she said.

The initial script was written by Marc Siwak, father to Max and Madison Siwak.

“But a lot of it was also the kids coming up with their own things as well,” Nicole Siwak said. “Marc wrote the script, but the kids took ownership of their own characters and there was a lot of improv too.”

She added that almost all of actor Jim Richards’ lines were improv.

The theatre’s “corporal” due to age and experience with the group, the 16-year-old Richards plays the role of Mitch Drama.

“He’s focused,” Richards said, adding that this is all he can say without giving away his character.

Max Siwak had the opportunity to play the lead character.

“Joey Jonka owns the caramel warehouse and he kind of doesn’t know what he is doing,” he said. “He’s kind of a hot mess, so he needs help from his two sisters.”

‘Abby Myren, 10, plays the role of Doctor Pepper, bringing her daughter to the audition.

“She’s really snobby and she has a daughter, Veronica Pepper, who is even more rude and mean,” Myren said. “My favorite part was her costume.”

Abby’s twin sister, Libby Myren, 10, stars in the film as Lady Montgomery, the mother of Madison Siwak’s character, Indigo Montgomery.

“We were both from the South, so we played Southern belles,” Madison Siwak said. “Indigo was a Boggle champion and thinks she is the best at everything, and her mother totally supports that, so it’s really funny.”

Miller said she hopes people come out to see the movie. She plays April Sloop in the film.

“I am the very rude and non-supportive mother,” she said.

Nicole Siwak said that from start to finish, Miller’s character is her own and she is another member of the group who really improved and took ownership of her character.

The movie — with a run time of 90 minutes — was created to appeal to kids and adults as an outing for the entire family.

“It has a lot of special effects, a great score, and this is a great movie,” Nicole Siwak said. “It doesn’t look like an amateur film.”

The theater group also wrote a theme song for the “movie theater” and created a trailer to promote the Clawson Goodfellows’ upcoming toy drive before the movie.

“Joey Jonka and the Caramel Warehouse” will debut with a red carpet premiere at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Clawson Performing Arts Center inside Clawson High School, 101 John M. Ave. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and there will be a second showing at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 inside the theater.

Tickets are general admission and are available at the Hunter Community Center or at the door. Admission is free, with a suggested $5 donation to benefit Acting Out Kids Community Theatre.

“We’re going to have a red carpet outside; banners with paparazzi on there; the kids will come in character and will have photo ops and sign autographs; and after the movie the kids are planning a bake-sale reception, which is a fundraiser for the theater as well,” Nicole Siwak said.

To learn more about the movie, visit