Theater: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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click to enlarge The original Broadway cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. - Joan Marcus
Joan Marcus
The original Broadway cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang began as a 1964 children’s book by Ian Fleming about an inventor who buys an old, smashed up race car from a junk yard and fixes it up for his family, who soon discover the car has a mind of its own and fantastic capabilities — the ability to sprout wings and fly, to sail across the sea, to warn the family of danger, even to chase and apprehend criminals. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was adapted into a film starring Dick Van Dyke in 1968, its premise generally the same but with the action and fantasy elements only a re-enactment of a story the inventor tells his children. A big-budget stage musical based on the movie opened in London in April of 2002 and ran more than three years before Broadway caught wind and debuted its own production in ’05 to mixed reviews; apparently, the stunning sets, incredible special effects and overall great production values didn’t make up for the mediocre music. But if you’re a fan of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and aren’t swayed by the bad press, the national tour makes its way to Tampa this week. Dec. 9-14, 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sun., Carol Morsani Hall-Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, $38.50-$67.50, 813-229-7827.

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