The Croswell Opera House in Adrian will kick off its summer season with the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” which opens June 10 and runs for three weekends.
“It’s a great family story full of imagination,” director Julianne Dolan said. The show is based on the children’s book by Ian Fleming and the 1968 movie musical of the same name.
Peter Crist of Adrian makes his Croswell debut as Caractacus Potts, a widower and eccentric inventor whose children Jeremy and Jemima — played by Matthew Antalek of Adrian and Olivia Goosman of Pinckney — discover an old car destined for the scrap heap and beg their father to fix it up.
“He’s a tinkerer, he’s an inventor, he’s a nonconformist thinker,” Dolan said of the Caractacus Potts character. “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.”
Kayla Marsh, an Adrian native who now teaches theater in Georgia, returns to the Croswell stage in the role of Truly Scrumptious, a candy heiress who crosses paths with the Potts family and falls in love with Caractacus. Steve Hillard of Grass Lake plays the children’s grandfather, and Doug Miller of Adrian plays Lord Scrumptious, Truly’s father.
Leah Fox of Ypsilanti, who played the eponymous nanny in “Mary Poppins” two years ago, returns in a strikingly different role: the wicked, child-hating baroness of the land of Vulgaria. Her husband, Baron Bomburst, is played by Jeffrey King of Temperance. The citizens of Vulgaria include the crafty Child Catcher, played by Steve Kiersey of Brownstown; a gentle toymaker, played by Terry Hissong of Adrian; and a pair of bumbling spies, played by Steven Owsley of Adrian and Bruce Hardcastle of Brooklyn.
Rounding out the 54-person cast are Cooper Adams, Emily Allshouse, Steve Antalek, Jon Antalek, Logan Balcom, Kiersten Brackelman, Cole Carrico, Rachel Cheng, Debbie Corbin, Alex Drews, Dominic Duncan, Emily Gifford, Brenna Gifford, Elizabeth Hacker, Halle Horwath, Emily Hribar, Alexandra June, Abigail Knight, Cameron Kuhn, Erin Pifer, Libby Pifer, Peter Stewart and Nicholas Trevino, all of Adrian; Maggie Page of Clarklake; Jay Hillard of Grass Lake; Steven Kiss of Lambertville; Debra Nichols of Milan; Ava Brighton of Onsted; Morgan Decker of Ottawa Lake; Gage Sterling of Palmyra; Walter Book of Petersburg; Cordell Smith of Riga; Jake Boss, Chloe Danley, Kyle Hauessler, Meg McNamee, Arielle Osstifin and Wynter Osstifin, all of Tecumseh; Kendall Comer of Temperance; Lucy Hagedorn and Reuben Hagedorn, both of Oregon, Ohio; and Meg Grzeszczak of Sylvania, Ohio.
The creative team includes music director Wynne Marsh, choreographer Sarah Nowak, scenic designer Patrick Lord, costume designer Susan Eversden, sound designer Chris Goosman and lighting designer Tiff Crutchfield.
Dolan said the movie’s producers always had a stage production in the back of their minds, but it wasn’t until recently that theatrical technology evolved to the point where putting a story like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” on stage was feasible.
But beneath the scenic spectacle of the show, she said, “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,” she said.
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” opens Saturday, June 10, with a 7:30 p.m. performance. Tickets for opening night are $50 and include a postshow party with the cast.
Tickets for all other performances range from $15 to $35. The show runs for three weekends, with performances at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 11; 8 p.m. Friday, June 16; 8 p.m. Saturday, June 17; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 18; 8 p.m. Friday, June 23; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 24; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 25.
The Croswell is at 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian. Tickets may be ordered online at croswell.org.