‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ flies onto summer theater stage

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  • Courtesy of COEUR d’ALENE SUMMER THEATRE Actors perform a scene in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” opening June 15 at the Kroc Center Theater in Coeur d’Alene. Children pictured from left: Isabella Ferch and Zachary Abshire. Seated front: Greg McCormick Allen and Abby Anderson.

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  • Courtesy of COEUR d’ALENE SUMMER THEATRE Actors perform a scene in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” opening June 15 at the Kroc Center Theater in Coeur d’Alene. Children pictured from left: Isabella Ferch and Zachary Abshire. Seated front: Greg McCormick Allen and Abby Anderson.

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Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre is launching its new season with a bang bang.

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” the story of a lovable but wacky inventor, Caractacus Potts, his two children, and the gorgeous Truly Scrumptious, opens June 15 in Coeur d’Alene.

The Broadway quality production will run through July 2 at the Kroc Center Theater, 1765 W. Golf Course Drive. Performances will be held Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Evening shows are at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets: $49/adults, $42/ seniors and military, $27/children. To purchase tickets, visit www.cdasummertheatre.com or call (208) 660-2958.

The stage musical is based on the 1968 film produced by Albert R. Broccoli. The music and lyrics were written by Richard and Robert Sherman with book by Jeremy Sams.

Director Jadd Davis said “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is a sweet, offbeat, family musical “with just enough danger to keep folks on their toes.”

He said he loves directing theatrical shows with magic inherent to them.

“One of my favorite things about live theater is it allows us to dig a little deeper into our imagination and if the story is well-told, we’ll willingly suspend our cynicism. When there are magic things like a flying car, audience members can shut out their need for facts and just jump on board for the ride,” Davis said. “I’m always thrilled how willingly an audience takes this leap, and I think it’s why live theater continues to be a viable art form despite our many other avenues for entertainment.

Greg Allen, who plays Caractacus Potts, said he has heard two different opinions of the movie the play is based on.

“Either you loved it or it scared the heck out of you. Personally, I have loved this movie ever since I was a child, and to be able to once again step into the shoes of one of my idols in Dick Van Dyke, the first time being when I played Bert in Mary Poppins with the Village Theatre, is an absolute dream come true.”

Calling the story wacky and often absurd, Abby Anderson, who plays Truly Scrumptious, noted “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” also contains deeper themes of sacrificing everything for family and that with teamwork, one can accomplish anything.

“For our older audience members familiar with the classic film version, this production will certainly instill a sense of nostalgia, and young children will be thrilled with the magical elements and the sheer silliness of what happens onstage,” Anderson said. “Plus, everyone should be excited for the flying car. Personally, as a child watching the film version, I was entranced by the ‘Doll on a Music Box’ scene, and being able to recreate that moment onstage is a childhood dream come to life. This production will bring out the child in everyone.”

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