Mary Poppins image

Photo credit: Shaler Area High School website


The beloved magical nanny is about to sweep the auditorium stage next weekend. That’s right, Mary Poppins is coming to town. The show is similar to Disney’s movie version, but also adds a unique spin to the well-known story that everyone knows and loves. Students have been preparing for this unique musical since mid-December and are sure to make this a memorable production.

“A lot of people think it’s just about Mary Poppins but it’s a musical about how different people’s upbringings affect who they are today. Just because you are someone, doesn’t mean that’s necessarily your fault. Mary Poppins comes into the Banks’ family and turns their world upside down by showing them that there is more to life than just the negative, pessimistic side of things. There is always a brighter side to life,” director Ms Kristin Demsey said.

The original story of Mary Poppins was written by P.L. Traver. Disney adopted the story and made it into the famous movie that it is today. Since then, the movie has been turned into a musical production with challenging elements for the entire cast, crew, and pit.

“This musical is unique because it’s a commonly known movie almost every single child has watched numerous times that has a different spin on it in the musical version,” junior Zak Marshall, who plays Mr. Banks, said.

In the stage version, there are added songs and characters that separate the movie from the musical.

The cast, crew, and pit have experienced difficult elements while trying to piece everything together. Everything about the musical is complex in many ways, but the talent found at Shaler helps aid the process.

“This show has many elements that have challenged the cast, crew, and pit. For example, there are multiple technical pieces, including flying to give the show it’s magic. The pit has been working very hard with the musical score, as the selections can be quite tiring. In addition, this show also needs multiple, large-scale sets with quick scene changes,” senior Kelly Wall, who plays Mary Poppins, said.

The production of Mary Poppins has some special surprises lined up to wow the audience and showcase the talent Shaler students have.

“We’re doing something in “A Step In Time” that is completely different than the flying you’ve ever seen in any show we’ve done. Mary Poppins and I both fly. She, of course, does the umbrella flying, and I do something that I won’t give away yet. It’s awesome though,” senior Jordan Schreiber, who plays Bert, said.

This show requires high energy from the cast and a massive amount of belief and ambition to put on a great show. The students have been working hard to create characters that the audience identifies with.

“[The audience is] going to become attached to these characters. They’re going to have an experience that you don’t usually get at a high school production. What we pride ourselves on is that we give quality, professional performances at a high school level. I think they’re going to come in here and they’re going to expect something and they’re going to get something better,” Schreiber said.

Overall, hard work and dedication are the two elements that make any show successful. Without the ambition and the drive to put on the best performance possible, the show would not succeed. The students and directors put in long hours to ensure that this production is going to be unlike anything else and different from past performances.

“This musical is unique compared to past performances because there are lots of cool special effects, like flying and Mary’s magic, and really funny moments,” senior Catie Strout, who plays Mrs. Banks, said.

According to those involved, Mary Poppins is the probably the biggest and most complex musical that Shaler has ever rehearsed. The pit was given a difficult score and the cast has to give their A game for the show to work out.

“The whole thing is so extremely difficult. Between scene changes, the instrumental book is advanced beyond advanced, the harmonies for vocals are insane, the characters, there is so much character study beyond each character, there are so many elements. This is the whole package,” Demsey said.

Despite the difficult of the show, the students are eager to put on a great performance. According to Demsey, the musical can simply be described in one word: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

“It’s a nonsensical word that makes sense in the weirdest, most magical type of way. I think that if there is any one word that I could pick to describe this musical, that’s it. You look at it and hear it and you think, ‘Well, that’s weird… kind of cool…hmm I wonder what that’s about,’ It leaves that unknown feeling and that it seems magical and it definitely will be,” Demsey said.

Mary Poppins opens tonight at 7pm. Other show performances include March 7th, 13th, and 14th at 7pm and the matinee showing on March 8th at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased in the Activities Office. $7 for general admission, $10 for reserved seating. It is recommended that tickets are bought before the show and not at the door to ensure a seat for the performance.






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