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Chocolate Factory has cast of 30

It’s not easy organizing a cast of 30 children, especially when singing, dancing and oompa loompas are involved.
“It’s pulling itself together at the last minute,” said Shanti Ammen, a third grade teacher.
Ammen and fellow teacher Jennifer Seiracki are the proud directors of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starring third through fifth grade students.
The play will be performed Thursday night at S. Ray Lowder Elementary School. The performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $2 for adults, $1 for students and free for kids under 8.
All the performers are familiar with the classic book, which tells the tale of a group of children visiting a magical chocolate factory.
When the children are naughty, bad things happen to them. Some fall into chocolate rivers. Some turn into blueberries. After their demise, the oompa loompas sing a sad song.
The naughtiest of all the naughty children is Veruca Salt, a part that was coveted by nearly every girl in the play.
Gracie Turner, a fifth grade student, was very excited when she got the role.
“She gets to be a brat, and I get to use an accent,” she said.
Even Katie Childers, who plays Willy Wonka, wanted to play Veruca Salt. Katie, however, is perfectly pleased with her lead role and enjoys her time on stage.
“You get to be someone besides yourself,” she said.
John Finger, on the other hand, enjoys his character because of their similarities. While John is not a greedy boy, he does share a love of chocolate with Augustus Gloop.
“Sometimes I like to eat anything, and my ancestors lived in Germany,” he said.
There are also children in the performance who play very responsible adults.
“It makes me feel like I’m all grown up,” said Destiny Martinez, a fourth grade student who plays Mrs. Bucket, mother of Charlie.
Charlie is being played by Cory Cook, who was beside himself when he won the role.
“I was super excited,” he said. “It’s just one of my favorite movies.”
It doesn’t seem to take a lead role to get a student excited, however. The acting bug has bit a number of children, some of whom spent the summer at drama camp fine tuning their skills.
“There are a few that are from our play last year, and they’ve really grown as actors,” said Seiracki.
As of now, the students aren’t too nervous about their upcoming performance. In fact, many can’t wait for their moment in the spotlight.
“I like to see all the people wanting to see me act,” said Fernando Soto, a third grade student.
Staff Writer Sarah Grano can be reached at 704-735-3031 or sgrano@ltnews.com.
by Sarah Grano

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