A fantasmagorical ride
‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ makes dreams come true
Early into “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” currently at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku, Ricky Jones as Caractacus Potts sings, “Teamwork, can make a dream work — can make the greatest dreams come true.” The Maui OnStage production, which opened last weekend, bills itself as “The most ‘fantasmagorical’ stage musical in the history of everything.” It is, without question, the most colossally complex undertaking in MOS history and it is teamwork that makes its “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” dream a reality.
There are countless moving parts and marvelous moments in “Chitty” — from the stellar vocals, to charming characterizations and a cornucopia of eye candy — but, perhaps, the star of the show is the ‘fantasmic’ car itself. Designed and built by Ally Shore (who also impresses as the chilling Child Catcher of Vulgaria), “Chitty” is driven across the Historic Iao Theater stage, pivots 360 degrees, sprouts wings, and appears to fall and fly with a little theater magic.
Another whimsical moving part is a motorized vaudeville-style oleograph. Scenic backgrounds roll past on a scrim as Chitty’s wheels turn, creating a enchanting effect from a bygone era.
The performances in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” are best described as loveable. Kanoa Gorring as Jeremy and Dakota Welch as Jemima convincingly portray the precocious Potts children; Jones is heartwarming as their idyllic and cheerful father; Dale Button is irresistibly endearing as Grandpa Potts; and Sara Jelley, armed with an adept angelic voice, is “Scrumptious as a cherry peach parfait” as Truly Scrumptious. “Chitty” nears a sugar overdose with the appearance of Edison, the Potts family dog, remarkably and effortlessly performed by Frederick, the chipper schnoodle.
Not to be left out are costumers Vicki and Jessica Nelson, who have outdone themselves with dozens of exquisite, handmade pieces that are mirror-images of the unforgettable 1968 film costumes. All of these team-created components best work in unison on the “Doll on a Music Box” number set in the Vulgarian castle of Baron Bomburst (Keith Welch). The scene, the set pieces, the costumes and musical harmonies are sheer perfection and to be considered one of the best theatrical stage moments of the year. In addition, Welch and Marsi Smith as the Baron and Baroness are so gleefully comical in their outstanding over-the-top performances that they all but steal the entire second act.
As a great musical should, this production will have you humming all of its catchy tunes led by conductor Steven Dascoulias and performed by Kim Vetterli (keyboards), Clayton Logue (keyboards), Perry Gragas (percussion), Cody Sarmiento (trumpet), Jeff Alfriend and Beth Sederstrom (reeds) and Henry Arroyo (trombone).
The non-stop orchestral highlights include Jones and Jelley’s hypnotic “Hushabye Mountain,” the bouncy “Toot Sweets,” and the applause-worthy and lively “Me Ol’ Bamboo.” Gorring, Dakota Welch and Jelley sparkle on “Truly Scrumptious,” as does Button with the delightful “Posh” and “The Roses of Success.” Smith and Keith Welch offer a savory interlude with “Chu-Chi Face,” and at show’s end the entire audience joins in, clapping and singing along with the ensemble on the title song, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
What Maui’s “Chitty” may lack in Broadway dazzle it makes up for with ingenuity and is sure to enthrall children of all ages this holiday season.
Also this week
Colleen Ballinger is bringing her wacky Miranda Sings character to Maui this week with, “Miranda Sings Live . . . You’re Welcome Tour.”
Ballinger created the character to parody young, self-absorbed singers with far more delusional self-confidence than talent. Miranda is known for her overdrawn red lips, questionable advice and her many talents which include singer, songwriter, musician, actress, dancer, model, fashion designer, magician, advice counselor, gourmet food critic and cat trainer.
In her exact words, Miranda boasts, “It was a cold winter’s day on December 24 when I was borned. My mom always new I would be a singer because when I was cut out of her stomach I cried. I was homeschooled my whole life and won a lot of Tonys for my musicals in my backyard. In 2008, I decided the world should no how famous I am so I put my videos online. Now I tour all over the world performing for my ‘mirfandas.’ “
* Performance is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Tickets are $49.50 with a $75 VIP package (plus applicable fees). VIP tickets include a pre-show meet and greet at 5 p.m. with the artist and a souvenir laminate and photo. To purchase tickets for any MACC event, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www. mauiarts.org. This performance contains adult content and is not appropriate for children.
ProArts Playhouse in Kihei presents “My Three Angels,” by Bella and Samuel Spewack, based on the French play “La Cuisine des Anges” by Albert Husson. In French Guiana on Christmas Eve, three convicts are employed as roofers at Ducotel’s General Store. The roof winds up being the least of the Ducotel’s problems. Melancholia and financial ruin looms over their heads, as do the three convicts who have a bird’s-eye view of their plight, and who descend to make matters right, even if some considerable wrongdoing is required.
* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays, opening Friday through Dec. 17 at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $26. For more information or to purchase tickets for any ProArts event, call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.
The King Kekaulike Dramaaticans present “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” adapted for the stage by Kristin Sergel, based on the book by Anita Loos and directed by Chris Kepler. In Loos’ chic 1925 novel, Miss Lorelei Lee intends to wed wealthily, armed with the philosophy that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Determined to marry millionaire Gus Esmond, Lorelei is stalked by a private detective hired by Esmond’s father to expose her as a gold-digger.
* Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 8 through 16 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 17 in the cafetorium at the King Kekaulike High School campus in Pukalani. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and are available at the door 30 minutes before the show begins.
ProArts Playhouse presents “The Frog Prince,” written and directed by Derek Nakagawa. This original fractured fairy tale performed by adults for children stars Vinnie Linares, Juliet Moniz, Scott Spring, Francis Tau’a and Heidi Turner.
* Performances are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 9 through 23, with an additional performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 at the ProArts Playhouse. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students 16 and younger. For more information or to purchase tickets for any ProArts event, call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.
ProArts Playhouse will be holding auditions for “The Trip To Bountiful” by Horton Foote from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday at Kihei Charter Middle School in the Lipoa Shopping Center. Roles for six men and three women are open and actors should be prepared to cold-read from the script. Rehearsals will begin in December with three weeks of performances from Jan. 26 through Feb. 11, at the ProArts Playhouse. “The Trip To Bountiful” will be directed by Lina Aiko Krueger. For more information call 463-0550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.
Maui OnStage will be holding auditions for John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Cabaret” from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Historic Iao Theater. All roles are open and all ages are welcome. Actors should prepare a 90-second dramatic or comedic monologue and a one-minute song excerpt of your choice that shows range and character in the style of the show. Actors must provide sheet music in their key or a karaoke track on CD or MP3. An accompanist will be provided. Rehearsals will begin in December with three weeks of performances from March 2 through 18. “Cabaret” will be directed and choreographed by Kalani Whitford, with musical direction by Steven Dascoulias. Appointments in increments of 10 minutes are required. To reserve an audition time, call 244-8680 ext. 23, or for more information visit www.mauionstage.com.