• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Dec. 5, 2008
ELGIN – Emma Zimmer and Alexis Ortiz are getting ready to go on stage for the first time ever, and frankly, they look a little green.
In fact, they look a lot green, but you can’t really blame them.
The two St. Charles girls are at a dress rehearsal getting ready to be green Oompa-Loompas in Christian Youth Theater’s production of Willy Wonka Jr., which will be performed today through Sunday at the Hemmens in Elgin. CYT is a theater arts education programs for kids ages 6 to 18.
The two 10-year-old girls will be joined on the stage by fellow Oompa-Loompa, 10-year-old Kirsten Holmberg of Batavia, who is the “veteran” of the three, having been in one other show before. All are trying to get used to their new skin color.
“Being green is kind of weird because it reminds me of being sick,” Holmberg said.
Ortiz agreed with her.
“You really feel like a little green person,” she said. “I feel stubby and short.”
While both Ortiz and Holmberg wanted to be in the show (and eventually turned green), Zimmer said she needed a little prompting from mom. But she’s very happy that she’s now in the show.
“It’s been really fun,” Zimmer said. “It’s like everyone knows everybody.”
Ortiz is quite happy that she finally will be performing on stage. She said she’s always known she would love to act but never had the chance to do it before.
“It was a lot of work, but it paid off,” Ortiz said. “We’re putting the final touches on it, and we almost have it perfect.”
Terri Penas, CYT’s assistant area coordinator for Kane County, has enjoyed watching the new actors get used to being on stage.
“Oh, yeah, they’re all so cute,” Penas said. “It’s been a good opportunity for kids who haven’t been in shows before.
“And to see them transform and turn from shy girls into these green, singing, dancing Oompa-Loompas; it’s just really exciting.”