From the seemingly incongruent combo of Ian Fleming (creator of the iconic secret agent James Bond) and Roald Dahl (renowned children’s author, the man behind such classics as “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and “The Witches,” to name a few) sprang forth perhaps the world’s best loved magical vehicle of all time.
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” was a novel by Fleming, published in 1964, that would become much better known among cinema-goers around the world through its 1968 film adaptation, written by Dahl and director Ken Hughes, before finally finding an even longer life on the stage.
Bainbridge Performing Arts will bring their production of the much loved magical adventure to life starting Friday, Dec. 1.
It recounts the now familiar tale of eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, who sets about restoring an old race car from a scrap heap with the help of his children, Jeremy and Jemima. They soon discover the car has magical properties, including the ability to float and take flight.
Trouble occurs, though, when the evil Baron Bomburst desires the magic car for himself.
The family joins forces with Truly Scrumptious and batty old Grandpa Potts to outwit the dastardly Baron and Baroness — and their villainous henchman the Child Catcher (who, as portrayed in the film by dancer/choreographer Robert Helpmann, was chosen in 2008 by Entertainment Weekly as one of the 50 Most Vile Movie Villains).
The musical is set to fly onto the BPA stage for a holiday run from Dec. 1 through Dec. 17, with evening shows Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., early Saturday matinées at 2 p.m., and Sunday matinées at 3 p.m.
Tickets, $29 for adults, $24 for seniors, students, youth, military and teachers, may be purchased online at www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org, by phone at 206-842-8569, or in person at BPA (200 Madison Ave. North). Box office hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and one hour prior to each performance.
The opening night reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1. There is no evening performance on Saturday, Dec. 2.
The production is led by an especially impressive artistic trio.
Last summer, director Kristi Ann Jacobson marked her fifth year with the BPA Shakespeare program by directing “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in the meadow at the Bloedel Reserve.
With a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in French horn performance, musical director Kelli McAuley frequently plays in the pit orchestra, sings on stage, or provides music direction, and is the founder of both the Kitsap Community Youth Choir and Kitsap Fringe Opera.
Choreographer Helen Heaslip is a recent Bainbridge Island transplant from London, where she worked as a movement tutor and choreographer on the BA and MA Acting programs at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
The cast includes Ryan Patrick O’Donnell, Evelyn Cantwell, Gracie Payne, Mackenzie Brown, Nelsen Spickard, Michelle Hensel, Robert Craighead, Miranda Feldtman, Gary Fetterplace, Terry McAuley, Pete Simpson, Isaac Etobi, Sarah Taylor, Jon Payne, Sophie Eldridge, Delaney Taylor, Emily Blackwell, Amber Goldby, Carter Wolff, Isabel McDermott, Molly Watkins, Audrey Benson, Olivia Opalski, Barrett Lhamon and Hailey McCulloch.