By Elizabeth Hartmann | Echo
From "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" to "Chim Chim Cheree," take a step in time during Taylor Theatre's production of the classic musical "Mary Poppins."
The "practically perfect" nanny comes to the Mitchell Theatre's stage on April 27 and 28 and May 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and April 29 and May 6 at 2 p.m.
"Mary Poppins is a very iconic role," said freshman Madeline Logan, who plays Mary Poppins. "So, it was hard getting into it."
Mary Poppins' character in the movie is very different from how she is presented in the book by P. L. Travers. The musical version blends both personalities together, creating a unique version of Mary Poppins. With three competing examples, Logan had to balance being true to the character and bring her own life into her role.
But a spoonful of sugar helps any medicine go down, and Logan analyzed the role and worked out the perfect harmony with Tracy Manning, assistant professor of theatre arts, department co-chair and managing and artistic director of theatre.
Mary Poppins uses her magic to heal the dysfunctional Banks family by taking the children on adventure after marvelous adventure. As they explore the streets of London, the quintessential woman teaches the children to look past what they see on the outside.
From the dirty, mysterious jack-of-all-trades Bert to the melancholic woman feeding the birds on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, the children slowly discover the hidden, inherent value in the world and people around them.
"She's saying look past what you see because when you find the what you see when you find the magic that will bring you the joy that can be found in the world," Logan said. "I think that the main thing is letting go of our preconceived notions of everything and finding the magic that is in the world, because it is there."
A total of four local children play Jane and Michael Banks. During rehearsal Madison Fuqua and Isaiah Ross, the two lead actors, and Lucy Manganello and Johnny Blosser, the two understudies, take turns playing Jane and Michael. In one scene, the two leads play, then the cast redoes the same scene with the understudies.
By casting four actors instead of two, senior Kenzi Nevins, the assistant director, said it gives more opportunities to the children in the community.
Nevins explained that the Taylor Theatre had a special family night filled with Mary Poppins-themed crafts, snacks and a photo booth with Logan and senior Sean Sele, the actors playing Mary and Bert.
The understudies performed for the community during the family night production on April 26. However, Fuqua and Ross will be taking the stage during the main performances.
The cast members love working with these four children, and Logan believes having the children around has encouraged the staff to be more punctual and set a good example.
As Jane and Michael grow, they bring their new insights to their parents. Ultimately, Mary Poppins helps them all discover the importance of family.
"Mr. Banks is a very work-driven man who, over the course of the musical, learns that his family should come before his work," said junior Camden Johnson, who plays the statue Neleus and various roles in the Ensemble.
From the tap dancing, feet pounding, knee-slapping songs to more reflective, somber melodies, "Mary Poppins" is full of exciting music and heartfelt moments that inspires viewers to reach for their dreams.
As the winds change and strains of whimsical music rise from the live orchestra, Mary Poppins sweeps across the London skyline with unforgettable ability to make impossible things come to pass.