Mary Poppins: Keeping a Classic Cool

Opening weekend for Mary Poppins a the Lowell Performing Arts Center (LPAC) is in the books.  However, if you weren’t able to catch a performance this past weekend, there are three chances left.  Shows for the final weekend are Friday and Saturday beginning at 7pm along with a newly added matinée Saturday at 2pm.  Tickets are available online for $10, up to two hours before the start of the show, or $12 at the door as long as tickets are still available.  Sell out performances are anticipated so reserving a seat before the show is recommended.

Posing with some of the crew, dressed as chimney sweeps, after a performance. Photo courtesy of Ronda Ake.

In Every Job that Must Be Done there is an Element of Fun

The cast, crew, director, supporting adults, and parents of students involved have all worked hard over the last couple of months to make this production of Mary Poppins come to fruition.  Opening weekend, all involved were able to show off the commitment involved in being part of a spring musical at Lowell High School. And it looked much more like fun than a job to those in the audience.

From the opening scene, spectators are drawn in to this classic set to stage.  Familiar characters come to life. Familiar songs encourage smiles. But current students put their own take into their characters, whether it’s Bert or Mary or those in the chorus.  

Sophomore McKenna Grody is more than practically perfect embracing Mary Poppins.  She’s serious, grounded, and firm yet acknowledges her good work and deeds as she blows in to help the Banks family realize what is important in life.  When the wind changes and it’s time for her to go, her lessons remain.

Bert, played by senior Kohl Goldsmith, is cheery and dapper in his delivery.  He serves a bit like the thread that ties everything together acting as narrator at times as well as interacting with nearly all of the characters at some point throughout the course of the story.  

Seniors Zane Goldsmith and Savannah Dempsey portray the Banks parents.  Their relationship has ups and downs and the two show their emotions completely as they become closer throughout the play.  Their children, Jane and Michael played by freshman Anna Doyle and sophomore Sierra Hieshetter are the reason for the appearance of Mary Poppins, creating a great duo on stage.  After doing away with several nannies in short sequence, at first they are eager to see how much trouble they can be for the latest arrival. However, they quickly realize there are adventures to be had and it’s more fun to be good than bad.  

Put Your Best Foot Forward

While the main characters in the production are easily loved, don’t let those with lesser roles fool you.  These characters did their job, supporting the main characters and aiding in the telling of the story on stage.  They may not have been see as frequently as others, but that didn’t make their performances any less notable.

Miss Andrew, played by senior Gwendolyn Hackett, could be viewed as a scene stealer with her loud, rambunctious character who came and was rather quickly cast out.  She is a lovable villain for all her bad deeds if such a thing exists.

The Banks’ house help Miss Brill and Robertson Ay, played by junior Emma Organek and senior Ivan Reynolds, attempt to help keep the family going, providing comedic performances along the way.  Senior Megan Meadows as Bird Woman and junior Isiah Perysian as Ms. Corry also have notable performances with their vocals and quirky character respectively.

Some of the most cheers following scenes came after high energy singing performances.  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Step in Time evoked cheers and whistles from the audience upon their completion.  These two numbers alone are worth taking in the show. It was obvious the cast was having fun during these portions of the play.  And it was obvious a lot of work went into creating the choreography and rehearsing the singing and dancing by cast members.

Work on a production like this isn’t only seen under the stage lights.  Students work behind the scenes to make sure those lights go on when they’re supposed to and are shining in the right spot.  Others make sure mics are working. And behind the stage the crew handles props and scene changes, silent characters in play.  Don’t forget about those who help with makeup and costumes!

Spit Spot!  Get Your Tickets!

If you haven’t already reserved your tickets for the last two shows this weekend, there aren’t many left.  But if you’re interested in going to see Mary Poppins at the LPAC, don’t hesitate. You won’t be disappointed.  

Photo courtesy of Cindy Johnston.

There are activities for kids like coloring, decorating a kite, and face painting before the show.  Concessions are also available before the show and during intermission. At the conclusion of the performances, the cast will be available for photos and autographs.  You can even purchase a Mary Poppins t-shirt to have signed by the cast of characters.

Lowell High School theater will be losing some seniors who will leave holes when it comes to the LPAC stage.  However there are up and comers ready to take the baton. And perhaps some of those participating in the chorus will seek bigger roles in the future.  

Lowell’s First Look would like to congratulate all of those involved in Mary Poppins on a great opening weekend.  If you haven’t taken in a performance, do so before it’s too late. Only three shows remain!

All photos, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of the LPAC and used with permission.

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