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WATCH: In This Scene ... 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'

Julie Denesha

In this scene from The Coterie's production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," Baron Bomburst (Jerry Jay Cranford) and Baroness Bomburst (Julie Shaw) express their love for each other through song and a series of gags and tricks.

"We are the Baron and Baroness of Vulgaria. I am about to have my birthday party, and I am very excited about it and completely forget that she’s alive," explains Cranford, a Broadway veteran, with a laugh.

"And she has a little moment and she says, ‘But you’ve forgotten all about me,’ and and I say, ‘Oh, no, no, no. You are my Chu-Chi Face.’ and that leads us into this number."

The two actors both had strong childhood memories of the 1968 film, a musical scripted by Roald Dahl with songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

"She had nightmares. I loved it," says Cranford. "It’s true,” says Shaw. "I was absolutely terrified. The child catcher did it for me."

But Cranford says he was always drawn to the dark elements of the story. And, as a fifth-grader, he attempted to recreate the production with a cast of neighbors in his backyard.

"I always loved the Dick Van Dyke (Caractacus Potts) character, but I wanted to be the Baron," he recalls with a laugh. "Even as a child I was a character actor, so it’s fun to realize that dream and it’s been fun choreographing the production and paying homage to the original choreography. It has been a joy."

The Coterie presents 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' directed by Jeff Church, June 17 – Aug. 3, at The Coterie, on level one of Crown Center Shops, Kansas City, Mo., 816-474-6552.

The "In This Scene..." series is supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

Julie Denesha is the arts reporter for KCUR. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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