IS 226 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Benonhurst school stages candy land classic

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The star: Andrew Avizbakiyev played the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka in the school’s production.
Supporting cast: The play included a crew of coorful Oompa Loompas.
I’ve got a golden ticket: Kaila Cuenca portrayed Charlie Bucket.
Bright lights: Students spent weeks rehearsing for the school’s adaptation of the 1971 hit movie.
Sweet tooth: Erta Kurti played Charlie’s mother, Mrs. Bucket.
Welcome to the chocolate factory: PS-1S 226 students starred in the Bensonhurst school’s adapation of the classic film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” on June 1.

Talk about a world of pure imagination!

Students staged their own version of “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” at IS 226 in Bensonhurst on June 1, recreating the classic 1971 Hollywood musical starring Gene Wilder that was based on the popular children’s novel by Roald Dahl.

Seventh-grader Andrew Avizbakiyev played eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, who opens his secretive candy factory to mild-mannered youngster Charlie Bucket — played by eighth-grader Kaila Cuence — and four other winners of a global golden ticket contest.

The 35-member cast spent five months building a detailed set, designing costumes, and rehearsing songs such as “Candy Man,” “Cheer up, Charlie” and “Pure Imagination,” before performing the musical in front of 250 parents, teachers, and staff, according to Alisa Halpern, one of the show’s co-directors.

“It was a big job,” said Halpern, an IS 226 teacher. “They performed their hearts out.”

A group of students even donned colorful wigs, smocks, and socks to play the role of Oompa Loompas, the lovable workers that toil around the clock, running Wonka’s oddball chocolate factory and singing one of Tinseltown’s most memorable ballads.

Angela Saccaro, another of the show’s directors, said the play was a perfect fit for middle schoolers.

“Willy Wonka sparked their imagination and creativity,” Saccaro said. “It allowed them to be funny and free.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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