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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent

At the Fun Fair, eclectic inventor Caractacus Potts, played by Brendan Davis,

demonstrates one of his inventions, a hair cutting maching, on Sid, played by

Graham Thomas.

            The Upper Perk High School Drama Club will be performing a fantastic musical adventure that includes a magical car!  This production is based on the 1968 film version of Ian Fleming's children's book. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a family-friendly show that has entertained audiences for decades. The Drama Club selected this show because it's magical, heartwarming, and hilarious.

            As the story goes, an eclectic inventor, Caractacus Potts restores an old race car that was doomed for the scrap yard. With the help of his children, Jemma and Jemima,

Spies for Baron Bomburst Gorgan (Mason Powers) and

Boris, (Ben Bateman) hatch a plot at a sidewalk cafe'.

they begin restoring the car. They quickly realize the car has magical properties. Trouble unfolds when Baron Bomburst, wants the magical car for his personal evil doings. The family joins forces with Truly Scrumptious and the dotty Grandpa Potts to outsmart the Baron, his Baroness and their unhinged henchman, The Child Catcher.

            There is a significant amount of time and energy that goes into planning these annual productions. The Drama Department begins planning next year's production within a few weeks of finishing their last show of the year. This process begins by reading scripts of prospective shows and discussing ideas with cast and crew.

            Before summer break begins, the show selection is usually finalized. During the summer, the majority of the set design is complete. Auditions take place at the end of October and rehearsals begin in November.

            This past year, the Drama Club sponsored a summer drama camp to prepare the cast for the upcoming show. There are twenty-four crew members and twenty-nine cast

The Potts family takes the rebuilt Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

our for a drive with Caractacus Potts (Brendan Davis) at 

the wheel and daughters Jimima (Liliana Goodrich) and

Jemma (Caprina Licopli) in the backseat.

members devoting their time and hearts to these performances. Starting in early January, the club meets Saturdays to construct the set. Cast, crew, parents, and family assist in the project.

            In this writer's correspondence directors Colby Phillips and Alicia Austin expressed sincere appreciation for the parent volunteers that create set elements The Department teamed up with Dan Moyer's and Blake Bardman's Industrial Arts students to assist in the construction of some of the show's marvelous inventions.

            The show is technically challenging and the Drama Club lost most of their props and scenery supplies to the mold issue earlier this year. It has been difficult for them to start with nothing and modify their vision to match their budget. The cost of producing and executing these productions can be expensive. Ticket sales are the source of production funding.  Each year's budget is based on ticket sales from the previous year.

            A major cost of each production is purchasing the productions rights for the show. The cost ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. The club also needs to purchase the materials required to build the set. They had a large lumber supply, but lost all of it due to mold contamination. All of their supplies needed to be replaced. They spent approximately $5,000 on this year's set.

            In addition, costumes need to be purchased or rented. This adds another $2,000-$5,000 to the cost of the production.  It's a labor of love to bring these productions to life.

            It is evident to this writer, that the Drama Club pours their hearts and souls into these performances. Cast member Owen Reinhart plays Baron Bomburst. He summed up the Club's dedication when he said, "The Directors are great. They are teachers with other responsibilities and all their free time is spent doing this."

            The WOW factor for this year's show is without a doubt, the Chitty car that flies and floats!  This year, $2,000 was devoted to building the car. Three devoted fathers banded together to construct the iconic focal point of the production.  Randy Reinhart, Josh Noska, and Brad Shup built the car. Hundreds of hours were spent bringing the car to life.

            Meghan Carlin plays Truly Scrumptious in the musical. She was asked, what was the most exciting part of this year's production?  She smiled in delight, as she exclaimed, "The car! There are a lot of details to the car that the audience can't see from their seats. There are gauges and they (the builders) even put a HOPE sticker on it. It's really cool."  The three parents also built the motorcycle and Child Catcher cart.

            At the heart of this musical, is a sense of commitment, teamwork, passion and community. This writer had the pleasure of sitting in on dress rehearsal and speaking to a few of the cast members. When Brendan Davis was asked about the best part about performing for a live audience. Brendan replied, "I like seeing all the smiling faces. The amount of time spent preparing to see kids and everyone enthralled in the story. It feels good." 

            With an amazing stage and fantastic music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun-filled classic adventure that everyone can enjoy. Despite the production challenges the Drama Department faced this year, the cast and crew will surely amaze and delight audiences. 

            This year's tickets were available for purchase online and tickets will be sold at the door, but the amount available will be determined by the number of tickets that were sold online.

            Ticket Prices are: General Admission $8.00 and Center Seating $10.00.  The show dates and times are: March 14- Student Discount Night at 7 p.m.; March 15 & 16 at 7 p.m.; and March 17- Children's Show at 2 p.m.





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