NORTH HOLLYWOOD – Singing about Oompa-Loompas on stage would be nerve-wracking enough for most children, but the students who performed Thursday in Saticoy Elementary’s School’s production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” face the additional challenge of being hearing-impaired. The fourth- and fifth-graders in the oral-deafand hard-of-hearing program use hearing aids or cochlear implants and have vocabulary levels ranging from ages 2 to 9. Nevertheless, they mastered songs, dances and pages of dialogue for the 45-minute musical they wrote themselves. “It was quite a challenge for them,” teacher Debbie Lutz said. “It pushes them and gets them to use more sophisticated vocabulary and language. “And it gives them a positive feeling about themselves, because they have such a sense of accomplishment and success.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The class read the Roald Dahl novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” then wrote their own script and transformed it into a musical, with help from Lutz, first-grade teacher Dana Mangieri and teaching assistant Ruth Cohen. Jose Ramirez, a special education aide who played an oversized Oompa-Loompa to great comic effect, said some Saticoy students who had previously teased their hearing-impaired classmates treated them with respect after viewing the play. The young thespians said they loved the funny story of Charlie Bucket, played by 11-year-old Kevin Avalos, who travels to the wonderous chocolate factory with four naughty children. Mark Rivera, 10, of Van Nuys donned a natty purple jacket and black top hat for his role of Willie Wonka, while Rodolfo Rodelo added a padded tummy to portray the gluttonous Augustus Gloop. Melissa Martinez, 12, relished her character of spoiled brat Veruca Salt, because “I don’t do that at home.” Brian Rivas, 10, of Panorama City played Mike Teavee, the television-addicted boy, while Cairo Hernandez played Grandpa Joe, and Oscar Moreno was the narrator. Several hearing-impaired students from the first grade wore paper-plate hats with green yarn hair and white plastic trash bags for overalls as they portrayed the Oompa-Loompas, Wonka’s helpers. The actors have been performing the show this week for parents and their classmates, who laughed and applauded at a recent performance, particularly when 11-year-old Vanessa Aparicio’s gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde was transformed into a giant blueberry – a large blue ball with a huge photo of Vanessa’s face taped to it. Despite their newfound stardom, most of the children said they had other professions in mind. Except Enrique Martin del Campo, 12, who played Charlie’s father, and now wants to be a singer or an action movie star, “like Vin Diesel” when he grows up. [email protected] (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!