Herriman Arts Council’s ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ is sure to be a flying, family-fun show
Jun 29, 2018 02:56PM
● By Jana Klopsch
Spies, Boris and Goran, from the Herriman Arts Council’s summer production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” played by Tevan McPeak and Brent Rindlisbacher. Picture credit Tonia McPeak.
By Christy Jepson | [email protected]
When Herriman resident Kristin Housley was just 5 years old, her father, who was in the movie business, took her to the grand premier of the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Not only did she get to meet the 1968 stars of the movie, Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes, she also got to take home a record of all the songs from the musical. From that moment, Housley fell in love with the story and the music. Now, nearly 50 years later, Housley is excited to be the director for the 2018 Herriman Arts Council summer musical production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” which will be performed at the W&M Butterfield Park in Herriman starting July 11.
“I fell in love with this movie,” Housley said. “It's a love story—a story about dreams coming true and bad guys getting what they deserve and children coming off victor, and it's a lot of fun! I was inspired then and continued to be inspired by it now.”
If you have ever been to a Herriman Arts Council production, you are sure to have heard the words “Herriman magic”—something it does that brings magic and surprise to each of its shows. Housley mentioned that there is yet another “Herriman magic” element to this show too.
“One that will surprise everyone,” she said.
According to the producer, James Crane, the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” car comes from Chicago and promises to surprise and thrill the audience.
The story of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is about a quirky inventor, Caracatus Potts, who turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy flying vehicle for his children. The Potts family, along with Truly Scrumptious, the daughter of a major confectionery maker, all go off on a magical adventure to a far-away land to save the Potts’ grandfather from the evil rulers, Baron and Baroness Bomburst.
This production has a little a bit of everything from crazy adventures to a little romance to some exciting surprises.
“This is a real family classic musical,” said Deb Taylor, the production manager for the show. “There’s so much imagination in the story, and kids live in their imaginations every day. It is a great celebration of childhood and fantasy.”
Crane, the producer, explains how the story embraces creativity, the power of the family unit and reminds us all that magic is always with us, if we are willing to look for it.
“The talent on stage is incredible,” he said. “The story is heartwarming and hilarious. The music is beautiful and catchy, and the dancing is lively and a real visual treat.”
Almost everyone in this show has been in a previous Herriman production. Barton Sloan, who plays Grandpa Potts, loves working with such great talent.
“There are a lot of return actors,” said Sloan. “Having a lot of return actors shows that Herriman has a great love for the theater and shows the great quality of productions they make.”
The production is performed at the Rosecrest covered pavilion at the W&M Butterfield Park in Herriman. The outdoor setting makes for a great outdoor stage.
“The sun setting in the west during the show is remarkable and adds another unexpected element and always seems to enhance the visual impact,” said Taylor.
Costume designer Emily Berbert enjoys the beautiful scenery the Herriman hills gives to the background.
“I really like this stage,” she said. “The natural hills in the background are beautiful.”
It is obvious that the producer, director, actors, costume designers, production managers all love the theater and hope to share their love of the theater with the audience. It is estimated that about 30,000 volunteer hours will be put into this show.
“Every ounce of ourselves and the love we have for theater and the arts goes into our shows,” Taylor said. “What a magical thing to give our children—the love of the arts. Shows like this one will bring wonder and amazement to any child.”
Just as Housley fell in love with the film the first time she saw it at age 5, she hopes it will have the same effect on people who come.
“I hope the audience leaves the theatre happier than when they arrived, more hopeful about their lives and humming a tune from the show,” she said. “That is what musical theater has always done for me and what I wish it for everyone.”
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will be performed at the Rosecrest Pavilion at the W & M Butterfield Park (6212 Butterfield Park Way) on July 11–14, 16, 17, 19–21 and 23. Tickets prices are $9 per person and can either be bought in advance at www.herriman.org/arts-council, or you can purchase them at the box office the day of the show. The box office opens at 6 p.m. the night of the show. Tickets are for general seating with the house opening at 7:30 p.m., and the performance starts at 8: p.m.