Curtains Up Pagosa’s ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ set to fly this weekend

Photo courtesy Curtains Up Pagosa Curtains Up Pagosa will present four performances of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” between June 29 and July 2. Tickets are available now.

By Claudia Faubion | Curtains Up Pagosa

 The roots of community theater can be traced to the “Little Theater” movement that started in the 1910s as a reaction to the monopoly that the syndicated theater system had on theater at that time. For some, it was about making professional theater art more accessible, but for many it was about enabling those who had not previously had access to theater arts to make their own art. 

Community theater today is usually done as a social and artistic activity. It brings together local youth and others for a common goal: to put on a great production while teaching everyone about working with one another and bettering themselves as individuals.

Here in Pagosa Country, we have Curtains Up Pagosa (CUP), our very own community theater. 

The mission statement for CUP is: “To nurture, educate, inspire, and strengthen Pagosa’s artists through the power of the performing arts, and to entertain our community by providing a superior theatrical experience.”

This weekend, CUP will entertain our community with four performances of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” a heartwarming musical based on the book by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, and the 1968 musical film. 

More than 100 people from the Pagosa community — youth and adults — will act, sing, dance, work the stage, create and work the special effects and lighting, and manage and promote Chitty.

The two lead characters, Truly Scrumptious and Caractacus Potts, played by Kaitlen Smith and Gus Palma, have been involved with community theater for years. 

Smith has been in “West Side Story,” “High School Musical,” “Les Misérables,” “Sister Act,” “Children of Eden,” “Tarzan,” “The Nutcracker” and “Cinderella.” 

Palma, who is a Fort Lewis College graduate with a degree in theater, has been in “Tarzan,” “Aladdin,” “Legally Blonde” and “Shrek the Musical,” to name a few, as well as assistant director for “Beauty and the Beast,” coaching acting and doing character work.

Playing a part stays with an actor beyond the performances. 

“Potts has taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur … that you have to believe in yourself to get where you want to be in life,” Palma said. 

“Life is full of unexpected twists and turns,” Smith observed. 

What do these two actors want you to come away with after seeing Chitty this weekend? 

“I want people to come away with the feeling that family is everything, dreams can come true, and teamwork can make a dream work if we all pitch in and try,” Palma said. 

They also suggested they hope the public sees how hard they have worked on this show and how fun it is to drive a car on stage.

Chitty is 14 feet long, 6 feet wide, and flies. Look for her in the Fourth of July Parade.

Performances for “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will be at the Pagosa Springs High School on Thursday, June 29, at 7 p.m.; Friday, June 30, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, July 2, 2 p.m. Tickets are available online at

There will be a very special backstage tour on Saturday, July 1, at 2 p.m. Tickets for this are available at the link above.