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Putting their heart and soul into it

Some of the cast members of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." pose with the magical car. The members are (back, left to right) Sydney Bock, Emily Staples, Isaac Kent, Mya Santelman, Sailor Peterson, Ben Cook, (front, left to right) Jayme O'Brien and Adison Newman. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 1 / 3
Four cast members play the role of the magical car in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." at the Andria Theatre. The cast members are (back, left to right) Sydney Bock, Ben Cook, (front, left to right) Jayme O'Brien and Adison Newman. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 2 / 3
Brooke Houska points the way to go in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." while other cast members look on. The other members are (back, left to right) Sydney Bock, Emily Staples, Sailor Peterson, Ben Cook, (front, left to right) Jayme O'Brien and Adison Newman. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 3 / 3

Even though the bitterly cold temperatures canceled three of their rehearsals, the more than 40 cast members of Andria Theatre's production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." have worked hard and will be ready for opening day next Friday, Feb. 15.

"They've all been troopers," said the play's director, Jake Stone. "It is a really fantastic show and they've put their heart and soul into it and it shows."

The cast of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." range in age from 8 to 18, said Stone, adding that although it sometimes gets a little loud on set, when it comes down to it, the cast members have been very professional, worked on their own when the rehearsals were canceled and had their lines almost down pat when they were able to meet again.

Stone, who has directed one other production with an adult cast, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," said he would take working with kids any day.

"They are just so eager and they have so much fun," he said, noting that to make up for the canceled rehearsals, the cast got together on a Sunday evening and will get together this Saturday, Feb. 9, for an all-day practice.

"They all love being here and love doing this that they were receptive to an all-day rehearsal on a Saturday," Stone said.

Stone gave a brief synopsis of the show, saying that it is about a father who is an inventor that cares deeply about his two children. When they go on an adventure, they meet some fun characters and a new friend, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

A bizarre mind

Isaac Kent, who plays the role of the father, Caractacus Potts, described his character as a man who is very family oriented. Kent said he is an unsuccessful inventor with a bizarre mind whose failed inventions include a haircutting machine and musical candies.

"This character is different than any I've done before," said Kent. "He's older than myself and a lot more put together. But he does get in some crazy situations."

Kent, a 10th-grader at Alexandria Area High School who plays bass and guitar, has been in several Andria Theatre productions as well as productions at his high school. He said he likes being on stage and being able to lose himself in whatever character he's playing.

"Plus, I love the atmosphere and the people," he said.

He described "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." as a really optimistic and imaginative show that is fun from start to finish.

Self-sufficient

Mya Santelman, a junior at Alexandria Area High School, has been performing on stage since about the 6th grade. Despite her young age, Santelman said "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr." is a movie she grew up and being in the play reminds her of her childhood. The movie, by the way, was first released in 1968, several years before she even born.

"I have the movie on a VHS tape," she said. "It's a really fun show and so imaginative."

Santelman plays the role of Truly Scrumptious, a girl she described as someone who likes to do things for herself and is self-sufficient.

"Although she does have a longing to care for others," Santelman added. "And she can go from very emotional to very strong just like that."

Being able to tell a story and become someone else are reasons why Santelman loves being on the stage. She said it is relaxing and a way for her to shut her "Mya brain off" and get into her character.

And although she enjoys being on stage and is always looking forward to her next performance, Santelman said she won't make a career of it because she doesn't ever want it to go from being fun to being work.

The show is set to open on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 320-762-8300.

Cast

Caractacus Potts — Isaac Kent

Truly Scrumptious — Mya Santelman

Jeremy Potts — Sailor Peterson

Jemima Potts — Emily Staples

Grandpa Potts — Brooke Houska

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — Ben Cook, Sydney Bock, Jayme O'Brien, Adison Newman, Anna Hanson

Baron — Lauren Russell

Baroness — Jordan Rymer

Boris — Bianca Wagner

Goran — Parker Zwach

Child Catcher — Tai Auran

Lord Scrumptious, Sid, Chorus — Myra Nelson

Ms. Philips, Violet, Chorus — Lily Heidelberger

Coggins, Fair Announcer, Toymaker — Jonah Heidelberger

Junkman, Farmer, Chorus — Addison Randazzo

Chef 1, Toby, Chorus — Roxanne Sweetwater

Chef 2, Marta, Chorus — Abby Faber

Chef 3, Greta, Chorus — Lauren Heseltine

Dance Troupe — Savannah Auran

Morris Dancers, Workers, Soldiers — Savannah Auran, Olivia Zollner, Eden Phillips, Allie Randazzo, Ashley Donley, Kylee Dummer, Jeryn Drewes, Avery Sinning, Malorie Raether

Chorus — Kobe Knudegaard

Vulgarians, Dogs, Fairgoers, Children — Lydia Renney, Olivia Brault, Brookellyn Lesnau, Marissa Hopper, Lily Eken, Adeline Auran, Piper Newman, Sammi Swensrod, Mia Meier, Leah Zemer, Emily Elliot, Madeline Dudley

Crew

Director — Jake Stone

Assistant director, props, stage manager — Andy Tollin

Props — Regan Peterson

Hair, Makeup, Costumer — Zoe Johnson

Light technician — Jacob Teigen

Sound design and technician — Greg Raether

If you go

WHAT: "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr."

WHEN: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 15-16 and 22-23, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 24, at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Andria Theatre, 618 Broadway St., Alexandria

TICKETS: Go to www.andriatheatre.org or call the box office at 320-762-8300.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

(320) 763-1242
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