'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' lands in Syracuse

The “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” car and cast participate in the Syracuse Parade. (Photo courtesy of Heather Sachs)

As rehearsals continue for the 2015 production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” the Syracuse High School auditorium is busy with kids and adults. The vocal coach begins the vocal warm-ups. The orchestra prepares for the first run through. People are laughing and chatting as they await instruction. The anticipation is high and can be felt throughout the auditorium.

After the vocal warm-ups, the ensemble cast groups together on the stage to begin the first act. The large set is ready in the background and the music begins. The ensemble sings with a rich sound as the run through begins.

“We wanted to do something that was very family involved,” Spencer Rollins, who plays Gorin the Spy, said. “We all loved it as kids growing up watching it.”

The production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is based on the classic 1968 film of the same name. It’s loosely based on Ian Fleming’s novel “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car.” The film stars Dick Van Dyke, Sally Howes, Lionel Jefferies and James Robertson Justice. It became the 10th most popular film in 1969. The stage musical began in London in 2002. The Broadway version, which this production follows, began in 2005.

The musical still follows the film’s setting of the imaginary land of Vulgaria. An inventor creates a flying car, and the Baron wants it for his birthday. So the Baron and the Baroness send two spies to steal the magical car. The humor and lyrical songs from the film also feature in the musical version.

“I grew up watching the movie,” Lilli Dixon, who plays the Baroness, says. “I liked how colorful and whimsical it was.” She talked about how playing the Baroness is a great opportunity. “This is one of my dream parts, so I’m very excited to play her.”

But most of all, the cast hopes that the viewers come away with the positive themes of the story. “It has a really strong sense of family,” Amaris DiScuillo, a dancer in the ensemble cast, says. “It has a lot of great meanings behind it, like how family comes first.”

With fun songs, dance numbers and plenty of creativity, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will be the production to see this season. Based on the beloved film, the same whimsical energy and catchy songs will be perfect for all ages.

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will run July 16-20 at the Syracuse High School auditorium. There will be a matinee showing on Saturday, July 18 at two p.m. Evening showings will begin at 7:30 p. m. Tickets for the evening shows will be $9 for adults and $7 for children and seniors. For the matinee performance, tickets will be $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and children.