Putting their heart and soul into it
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.
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.
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
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.