“Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We love you,” sings the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as cast members of all ages grace the stage at Century High School, preparing for their spring musical.
The high school is pulling out all the stops this year to celebrate the school's 10-year anniversary and the retirement of its drama director, Cathy James.
“I’m really excited to kind of be moving on to—I’m not sure if it’s greener pastures, but some kind of pasture—and I’m kind of sad because I think the kids keep me young," said James, who has been the drama teacher and director for nine years.
"I also think it’s a good time for change, and I think the kids are ready to have somebody young and energetic and enthusiastic and a little closer to their age.”
Co-director Lucas Hewitt will be taking over next year.
For her last production, James and Century are bringing together more than 55 students from high school, middle school and elementary school, including some children of faculty and staff.
“It’s a lot a lot of work and these kids spend hours upon hours here every day after school," said James. "Some of them don’t even have lines, some of them are in the ensemble but they are here and working really hard and they’re singing and they’re dancing and it’s amazing when you finally get to that last week and every little bit that's been all over the place comes together.”
The work has paid off, according to the students in the cast, who say the long hours are worth their time in the lights.
“It’s been a lot of prep—we’re here for like three hours after school so there’s some waiting—but once you get on stage, you really don’t worry about any of that," said Alex Simms, a junior who plays Grandpa Potts. "You just have to go and act and it’s really fun.”
Brittney Drummey, a junior who plays the part of Truly Scrumptious, agrees.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work but you always see the end result always really pays off.
“There are kids in this cast that are younger, anywhere from the ages of 6 to 12, and it’s a lot of fun to work with kids that age as well as kids in your own age group,” said Drummey.
The show also brings together teachers and parents, who have put in hours to make the production come to life, including music director Allison Croft from Linton Springs Elementary, choreographer Jackie Rummel from Oklahoma Road Middle, dance coach Karen Delaney from Linton Springs Elementary and Piney Ridge Elementary, conductor Brian Hirschman, a Century alumnus, and scene designer Sam Powell, a University of Maryland graduate.
In addition, the drama booster parents, all volunteers, have spent hours selling tickets, making costumes and helping to put together the set.
“We have some parents who have been with us for eight 0r nine years whose kids have already graduated from college, but they still come back and help us build the sets, so it’s an amazing group of really, really hard-working people,” said James.
With the curtain soon going up on opening night, the students are looking forward to showing off their hard work.
“I’m super excited for this show because just seeing everything come together in the final bits and seeing the car and seeing the reactions of the audience members when they see the car fly for the first time, it’s going to be so great," said Drummey. "I’m so excited for it.”
Simms concurred. “I’m really, really, really excited for the show. It’s really coming together really great and it’s going to be fantastic.”
Century High School’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is playing in the high school auditorium March 31 and April 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and April 2 at 2 p.m. Pre-purchase tickets for the show here.
Drama alumni attending the April 2 performance at 7 p.m. will receive free admission, a T-shirt and are invited to a reception following the performance. Drama alumni should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Amdorwa@carrollk12.org or email@example.com.