By Judy Tacyn
Most parents can relate to wanting to give their children an object of their kids’ obsession, only to have that desire just out of reach. Adults sometimes resort to creative problem-solving rather than disappoint a child. Thus is the case for Caractacus Potts, an eccentric inventor focused on salvaging a dilapidated old racecar for his children, Jemima and Jeremy Potts. When it’s discovered that the car has magical powers, it seems everyone in town wants to own the one-of-a-kind vehicle. Hijinks and mayhem ensue as it becomes a wild ride to see who will take the elusive car home.
The always talented Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA) will raise the curtain on “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr.,” a fantasy adventure and musical based on Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car,” on May 11 for eight performances through May 19. If you think you know the story, director Atticus Boidy hints that audiences can expect “all the fun that the movie provided, but with even more family friendly entertainment, including new songs.”
“I think audiences are really going to enjoy our take on the production of something they may have seen before,” said Blake Martin, an eighth-grader at Magothy River Middle School, who plays Grandpa Potts, the war-hero father of the determined Caractacus Potts. “Atticus is an amazing director with a unique style.”
Atticus said he likes to put an untraditional twist on his productions and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr.” won’t disappoint.
“There is a steampunk aesthetic to this show,” Atticus said. “This twist affects the costumes, props, set and set decoration. The script also calls for the car to be a puppet made of multiple pieces controlled by the actors, but we decided to build a car as a set piece.”
Andrew Wilson plays Caractacus Potts, and is the eldest thespian in the cast. The homeschooled ninth-grader has been performing with Children’s Theatre of Annapolis since 2012, even though he lives in Bowie, nearly 20 minutes away.
“I think the audience will be amazed by this cast,” Andrew said. “The energy and talent on this stage is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.” As for calling CTA home for the past seven years, Andrew said, “This is such a welcoming and supporting environment. Everyone from the actors to the production crew have a high level of professionalism that is simply incredible.”
The 28-member cast ranges in age from 9 to 14, but as with all CTA productions, the extraordinary music and vocal quality, the complex choreographed dance numbers, and refined acting talent that emerges when the lights come on will have audiences feeling as if they are watching professionals with decades of stage experience.
“These kids are by far some of the most talented performers in this area,” Atticus said. “I work with actors of all ages and the talent that comes through CTA always impresses me.
“As a director, the most fun part about directing is watching the kids grow as actors and to help put on a production that they can be proud of,” Atticus added.