It’s A Family Affair with Elevate Productions Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Several family members are enjoying being part of the Elevate Productions Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A mother/father/daughter/son; mother/daughter; and a father/daughter/granddaughter among others, are taking part in the Colorado Ballet Society theatre production company’s upcoming show. Fifty performers, from children to well-known local actors, will be in the four performances of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on June 14 and 15 at 7pm and June 16 at 2pm and 7pm, at the Louisa Performing Arts Center of The Colorado Springs School, at 21 Broadmoor Avenue in Colorado Springs.
“This cast is made up of incredibly talented and hard-working actors, singers and dancers, who are full of energy and excitement,” says CCBB Director Ford Tackett, who is making his directorial debut with CCBB. “I'm looking forward to seeing this talent being shared with audiences, who no doubt will be touched by the comedy, quirkiness, and affection that this play brings to life.”
“I enjoy seeing how the cast supports and encourages one another, recognizes the contributions of each person, is willing to help in any way that is needed, and genuinely desires to do their best,” says Tackett. “This show appeals to people of all ages and speaks at several levels. Anyone who has seen the film will enjoy being reintroduced to the characters and catchy songs. Children’s imaginations will be stirred along with Jeremy and Jemima who hope to see their dreams come true. Others will laugh along with the silliness of the rulers of Vulgaria and their two comedic spies. Still more will feel sympathetic to Caractacus and Truly who long for a missing love. All will be touched by the underlying themes of the importance of family, essentialness of teamwork, and the need for love.”
Veteran actor Chad E. Davis portrays the eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts. His real-life daughter Grace Davis, will also be portraying his character’s daughter, Jemima, on stage.
“Including work backstage, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is my 20th musical theatre production,” says Davis. “And I am really looking forward to being back on stage with this wonderful cast and crew, after a ten-year hiatus from acting. Families will really enjoy this show. It’s great for all ages, and parents will remember it from when they were kids, but, everyone will enjoy seeing the show about the car that ‘floats’ and ‘flies’ on the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release!”
CCBB is Chad Davis’s first CBS/Elevate production, but his daughter Grace, 13, has been dancing with Colorado Ballet Society for the past year and has already performed in three of the studio’s performances including A Colorado Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center and Swan Lake at the Ent Center for the Arts.
“My favorite part of being in this production is how sweet and supportive the cast is and how encouraging our director is. It is just a great environment to learn in. This is my first really big musical, so it means a lot to me to have all of the support I’ve received,” shares Grace. “I also really love the fact that I get to do this show with my Dad. It’s such a unique experience that I never thought I would be able to do.”
“Everyone of all ages will LOVE this show,” enthuses Grace. “It’s just so fun and entertaining that even when I’m not on stage, I get sucked in to watching each scene because we really have a great team of actors and actresses who really bring this story to life.”
Chad’s wife (and Grace’s mother), Jennifer Davis, is a professional dog trainer who is preparing the family dog Pickles, for his acting debut in the role of Edison the dog. Grace’s brother Alex, is her official assistant dog trainer.
Paula and Annaliese Higgins represent a mother/daughter pair who are also enjoying performing together. Annaliese Higgins portrays Truly Scrumptious, and Paula plays the Baroness. Both Paula and Annaliese are regular performers in the Colorado Springs theater scene.
When asked what they enjoy most in being part of this production, Paula responded with, “Besides getting to work with my daughter on another show, I really am enjoying the directing team, the cast, the crew, the Ballet Society staff; seeing Edison’s handlers work Edison; and watching it all unfold and come together…it’s MAGIC and a whole lot of hard work!”
“I’m looking forward to the audience’s reaction to what we have put together,” claims Paula Higgins. “They’re going to LOVE Chitty! We’ve got a magical car, some diabolical bad guys, some romance and some really fun dance and singing numbers! It’s such a very clever show, and when you think that the Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins) were the original creators of the movie music, you know that it’s going to be quality!”
Annaliese chimes in with, “I love community theatre because of the relationships and comradery one can build. From the talented directors, to hard-working production crew, to the amazing cast, being part of this production has brought me such pure enjoyment.”
Ray Brown, another local veteran actor, is portraying the Baron to Paula Higgins’s Baroness. Brown was also part of Colorado Ballet Society’s premier theatre production, The Music Man, which won an award from the Pikes Peak Arts Council.
“I’m really enjoying playing opposite of Paula in Chitty,” says Brown. “I’m looking forward to hearing the audiences respond to this show.”
Jamie Foster, (Grandpa Potts), and his granddaughter, Serafina Regusci (age 12 and cast in the role of Susan), are part of another family group cast in the show. Foster’s daughter and Serafina’s mother, Tracy Regusci, is bringing her California set design experience to the show. The Regusci family has been part of twenty-seven productions in the past seven years. Theatre has truly become a family affair in the Regusci household.
In 2012, when seven-year-old Serafina Regusci begged to audition for the part of Tiny Tim in a local melodrama production, her parents consented because, they thought the audition would be a great Sunday afternoon activity-never dreaming she’d land the part. But she did! Grandparents kicked in to help with the rigorous rehearsal/performance schedule.
Another parent shared with Tracy at the time, “Theatre is such a great family activity because there is something for everyone, on stage or backstage.” That thought amused her at the time.
A few months later Serafina was cast as Gretl in The Sound of Music and her Papa Jamie was cast as Franz the butler in his first theatre experience at age fifty-nine. A family tradition was emerging.
“Theatre demands a lot of time but when we do it as a family it keeps us all together,” says Foster.
The family’s move last August from California to Colorado was easy except for leaving the theatre community they loved. However, friendships are once again forming through involvement with theatre groups such as Elevate Productions at Colorado Ballet Society. Serafina and her Papa are actors in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cast and Tracy and Lynn are set building.
“Ballet Society’s commitment to a balance of health, dance and excellence, extends to our theatre production company,” says founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “We are honored to have had our first production last year be recognized by the Pikes Peak Arts Council, and our goal is to build our program on that solid foundation. As in every Ballet Society production, our aim is to present top-quality, family-friendly entertainment that our families are proud to be part of and excited to invite their friends and family to.”
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang features 50 local performers
Four performances, Thursday and Friday, June 14th & 15that 7pm;
and Saturday, June 16th at 2pm & 7pm
at Louisa Performing Arts Center, 21 Broadmoor Avenue in Colorado Springs
Tickets: $22 Adults, $15 Children (12 and under and Seniors) available HERE
Figure 1 Caractacus (Chad Davis), and Jemima (Grace Davis) in Elevate Productions Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | PC: Kayla Coburn
Figure 2 Grace Davis, Jaime Foster and Pickles as Jemima, Grandpa, and Edison | PC Kayla Coburn
Figure 3 Paula Higgins is The Baroness
Figure 4 Grace Davis, Jamie Foster, CalebVan Hook as Jemima, Grandpa and Jeremy Potts | PC Kayla Coburn
Figure 5 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Caractacus (Chad Davis), Jeremy (Caleb Van Hook) and Jemima Potts(Grace Davis) and Truly Scrumptious (Annaliese Higgins) | PC Kayla Coburn
Figure 6 Flying/floating Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car in the production