Kevin Crumpler ’11

Royal Players to present Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

By Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer

BENTON — The Royal Players will present the musical adaptation of the family film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on April 12-22 at The Royal Theatre in downtown Benton.

Showtimes are at 7 p.m. April 12-14 and again 19-21 and at 2 p.m. April 15 and 22.

The musical, sponsored locally by Everett Buick GMC, is based on the film version of Ian Fleming’s children’s book and features the musical score by the Sherman Brothers, who wrote the music for Mary Poppins. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams and Ray Roderick. Dick Van Dyke starred as the eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts in the 1968 film version.

Mollie Richey of Benton directs the local production, with musical direction by Heidi McCartney of North Little Rock and choreography by Reagan Hammonds of Benton. Carissa Lumpkins and Daphne Shoppach, both of Benton, are the producers.

“Everyone in the cast is fantastic,” said Richey, who is making her directorial debut at The Royal with this production. “Every one is working so hard. It’s going to be a great show.

“It’s a fun, colorful, silly show for everybody.”

Richey is a graduate of Dover High School and of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia with a degree in education. She teaches prekindergarten at Ringgold Elementary School in Benton. Richey is an active member of the Royal Players and last appeared as Mrs. Sowerberry in the musical Oliver!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tells the story of Potts, who restores an old race car from a scrap heap with the help of his children, Jeremy and Jemima. They soon discover the car has magical properties, including the ability to float and take flight. Trouble occurs when the evil Baron Bomburst wants the car for himself. The family joins forces with Truly Scrumptious and Grandpa Potts to outwit the baron and baroness and their henchman, the Childcatcher.

Kevin Crumpler of Maumelle takes on the leading role of Caractacus Potts.

“I’ve come to love the character of Potts,” Crumpler said. “He’s eccentric … has big ideas. He is fun to play, and I love getting to speak with a British accent. Working with all these kids is so much fun.”

This is Crumpler’s second appearance in a production at The Royal; he appeared as Lancelot in the 2016 production of Camelot. He has appeared in shows at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and the Studio Theatre in Little Rock.

Crumpler grew up in El Dorado and studied musical theater at Ouachita Baptist University. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in public relations and a minor in music. He is a recruiter for BrightStar Care, a home-care and medical staffing company in central Arkansas.

Melody Small of Little Rock appears as Jemima Potts. Melody, the 13-year-old daughter of Jeff and Lee Ann Small, appeared as The Artful Dodger in a November 2017 production of Oliver! and also appeared in the Young Players’ production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She attends Baptist Preparatory School in Little Rock.

Reagan McCartney, also of Little Rock, appears as Jeremy Potts. She is 9 and the home-schooled daughter of Justin and Heidi McCartney.

Reagan has been in Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Guys and Dolls Jr. and Mischievous Elves at The Royal.

Paige Carpenter of Little Rock, formerly of Lonsdale, appears as Truly Scrumptious, daughter of the famous candy maker Lord Scrumptious.

Truly falls in love with Potts.

Carpenter is a 2002 graduate of Benton High School and a 2006 graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English literature. She has appeared in previous productions at The Royal Theatre, including Oliver! — in which she appeared as Nancy, a former child pickpocket — and is a master carpenter at the Arkansas Arts Center, where she builds sets and appears in productions with the Children’s Theatre.

Rounding out the cast are the following:

• Clay Burnett of Prattsville appears as Grandpa and Stephen in the children’s ensemble.

• Joshua Grandon of Benton plays Baron Bomburst.

• Jamie Partain of Benton portrays Baroness Bomburst.

• Sarah Heer of Benton plays The Childcatcher.

• Cheryl VanWinkle of Benton appears as The Toymaker.

• Nicholas Bell of Benton portrays Boris.

• Josh Bond of Benton plays Goran.

• Nicholas Love of Benton plays Coggins.

• Randall Earnest of Benton portrays Lord Scrumptious.

• Skyla Conger of Haskell appears as Miss Phillips and a member of the adult ensemble.

• Katie McCallister of Benton plays Violet and a member of the adult ensemble.

• Hayden Griffis of Bauxite plays Sid.

• Noah Lee of Haskell portrays Turkey Farmer.

Members of the children’s ensemble include Lauren Redmond of Benton as Susan; Ellie Russell of Bryant as Marta;

and Lauren Bond of Benton as Greta — also Addie Woodard, Braden Lisowe, Addison Lumpkins, Bella Crowe, Mary Grace Wells, Olivia Devine, Olivia Kreulen, Bryana Hammock and Faith Guthrie, all of Benton; Dakota Taggart of Bryant;

Lexi Aquino of Maumelle;

Caylie Richardson and John Isaac Small, both of Little Rock; and Seth Nuss of Bauxite.

Members of the ensemble singing “Teamwork” include Alana Green, Britney Perrin, Aubree Hampel, Zoe Couch, Stacy Kay Sanders and Charles Wright, all of Benton; and Nora Tam of Little Rock.

Additional members of the adult ensemble include: Rylee Woodard, Serena Powell, Katharine Crowe, Debbie Wright, Christian Fox and Sarah Duvall, all of Benton; MaKenzie Taylor of Little Rock; Katrina Lilly of Bauxite; and Madeline Higgins of Haskell.

The Royal Theatre is at 111 S. Market St. in Benton. General-admission tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and college students, and $6 for preschool and elementary school students. Tickets may be purchased online at For reservations, call (501) 315-5483.


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