postscript by Frances Edstrom, columnist, Winona Post
HCO has produced another hit. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” now playing at the Page Theatre at St. Mary’s University, is just marvelous.
The singing is superb and the acting is wonderful. From the leads to the chorus, they all made it one of the most enjoyable Home and Community Options’ musicals to date. I’d love to be able to name all the actors and singers, but, believe me, the list is too long. The stage was absolutely filled with song and dance.
Almost upstaging the great local actors was an imported star, the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” car itself. I heard from a reliable source that it was rented and brought here from Chicago, and was the original car used in the professional production. You have to see it!
Mark Roeckers, the director, keeps getting better and better results. I really love that he uses so many of HCO’s residents and children and adults with disabilities in the show. In this production, many of these individuals had lines and played rather large roles, and very well, too.
Although I thought everyone did a great job, I had some favorites. The leads, Andrea Shearer as Truly Scrumptious and Karl Hoppe as Caratacus Potts, have beautiful clear voices and acted admirably. Colin Cada and Hannah Graff were perfect in the roles of the Potts children, and Mike Hagarty was great as Grandpa Potts. Garret Kinstler and Cole Jacobson as the hapless spies were very, very funny. And Joshua Stenklyft and Camie Schneider as the Baron and Baroness Bomburst were just a hoot! My personal favorite was Schneider, whose voice, stage presence, and comic timing are simply wonderful. My other favorites were the Baron’s soldiers: James Huebner, Bryce Bosteter, John Gensmer, Jesse Litscher; and Troy Fegre as the junkman!
The cast was accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Dr. Harry Mechell, who can make a dozen musicians sound like a philharmonic orchestra of eight dozen.
The volunteers involved are counted in the scores, and the crew deserves a standing ovation for seamless set changes and great sound, lights, make-up, and costumes.
I loved it!! You gotta see it. The last day is June 20. Call 507-457-1715 for tickets.