GLADWIN – The Gladwin Area Friends of the Theatre (GAFT) will kick off its season with the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” The cast busy rehearsing lines, choreography and song, to be ready to dance, sing, fly and float for your theatre enjoyment this summer. The musical, which includes several cast members from Gladwin, Isabella, and Ogemaw County, opens July 12 and will run through July 15.
“It’s a great family story that will fill the imagination of all,” director Yvette Keast said. The show is based on the children’s book by Ian Fleming and the 1968 movie musical of the same name.
Kevin Allen of Rose City will perform as Caractacus Potts, a widower and eccentric inventor whose children Jeremy and Jemima – played by Drew Hoag of Gladwin and Shannon Graham of Gladwin – discover an old car destined for the scrap heap and beg their father to fix it up. Potts is a tinkerer, he’s an inventor, he’s a nonconformist thinker. He’s also a father who wants to make his children happy, and he doesn’t have the means to do it, but he isn’t going to give up.
Ally Melcher of Mt. Pleasant will make her GAFT stage debut in the role of Truly Scrumptious, a candy heiress who crosses paths with the Potts family and falls in love with Caractacus. Cody Boyer of Gladwin plays the children’s grandfather, and Duen Govea plays Lord Scrumptious, Truly’s father.
Kristen Hudecz of Gladwin returns the GAFT stage as the wicked, child-hating baroness of the land of Vulgaria. Her husband, Baron Bomburst, is played by Cole Cunningham of Gladwin.
The citizens of Vulgaria include the crafty Child Catcher, played by Issac Morgan; a gentle toymaker, played by Karl Hauser of Clare, and a pair of comedic bumbling spies, played by Gladwin Nevada Kocur and Austin Furgeson.
Others in the cast include: Carson Allen, Correna Shukait, Madi VonMatt, Paige Heath, Pam Gorton, Emily Morgan, Victoria Gentilucci, Sara Sparkman, Katie Zabrowski, Alloisia Graveline, Karley Fischer, Stephen Wilson, Tory Ford, Alyssa Shearer, Sherry Crowell, Kaelyn Fischer, Hunter Thomas, Lydia Athey, Amy Athey, Adam Day, Aspen McKeever, Lori Girdley, and Malynn Haines from Gladwin and Beaverton.
Director Yvette Keast said, “The spectacle of the show will be amazing but beneath the aesthetics ultimately, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is a story about the importance of family. It’s about a family sticking together and trying to help each other out and to help others out of struggles.” She hopes that everyone will come out and see this spectacular show with dancing choreographed by the amazingly talented Adrienne Schlitzkus, Choral by the equally talented Kathy Cunningham of Gladwin. Orchestra Director Eric Vinciguerra of Mt. Pleasant.
Tickets are on sale now in these Gladwin businesses the Gladwin County Chamber of Commerce, Gladwin City Hall, Lyle Flowers, and The Medicine Shoppe; in Beaverton at Village Flowers, Beaverton City Hall, and Beaverton Pharmacy. Performance dates are: July 12, 13, 14, 15, 8 p.m., in the Gladwin City Park Amphitheatre. Call 989-435-6011 or visit gladwinareafriendsofthetheatre.org.