RESORTS WORLD MANILA’s eighth theater production will be the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which will open on Oct. 21 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater. Based on the 1968 British musical adventure fantasy film, it is a tale of a family for the family.
“The musical may be British in origin but we like the fact that the feelings, sentiments, and story are universal. It’s about how a family conquers adversity together and how the family, as a nucleus, as a unit, becomes stronger because of the adventure they have,” said director Jaime del Mundo in a press launch on Aug. 17.
“It’s not really a challenge because one thing I think the Filipino audiences love are musicals about the family,” he added.
First staged at the London Palladium in 2002 – becoming its longest running show, with a three and a half year run – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was originally a 1964 novel, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car, written by Ian Fleming (better known as the creator of James Bond). In 1968, director Ken Hughes and writer Roald Dahl (author of children’s books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda) made a movie adaptation of it.
Set in 1910, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tells of the “fantasmagorical” world of inventor and widower Caractacus Potts (played by Gian Magdangal), his love interest Truly Scrumptious (Yanah Laurel), and his children Jeremy (alternately played by Noel Comia and Albert Silos) and Jemima Potts (Isabeli Araneta-Elizalde and Zoey Alvarade), who set out on an adventure abroad their restored flying race car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They arrive in the faraway land of Vulgaria where they meet Baroness Bomburst (Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo) and Baron Bomburst (Raymund Concepcion), who both despise children.
Ms. Lauchengco-Yulo, who also serves as the production’s assistant director, said the cast is a dream team: Mr. Magdangal comes fresh from acting stints here and abroad including in Hong Kong Disneyland, Osaka Universal Studios, and Newsies, while Ms. Laurel has just finished a well-reviewed stint in Atlantis’ production of Kinky Boots.
The children are also veterans. Noel Comia won the Best Actor Award in the recent Cinemalaya Film Festival for his role in Kiko Boksingero, while his alternate, Albert Silos, was nominated in the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival as Best Supporting Actor for Turo, Turo. The girls have also headlined other productions. Isabel Araneta-Elizalde played Annie in the eponymous musical, which won her the Discovery of the Year Award from the Aliw, while her alternate, Zoey Alvarade, has performed in Wizard of Oz, It’s a Giant World, Jewel of Antilles: Two Worlds, and Greased Lightning.
Also in the cast are Michael Williams, who is also the production’s artistic director, James Paolleli, Mako Alonso, Reb Atadero, and Lorenz Martinez.
For details on the production, visit www.rmanila.com. – Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman