The Banks family lives in a big house on Cherry Lane in London, England.
The children, Jane and Michael, are out of control and in need of a new nanny.
Enter Mary Poppins.
Once the mysterious young woman appears, the family finds she’s the answer to their prayers but in the most peculiar way. She and her friend, Bert, take the children on magical and memorable adventures and make an impact on the grownups in the process, teaching them all that “Anything can happen if you let it.”
Set in 1910, the
first of a series of eight children’s books came out in 1934, it was released as a movie in 1964 and it became a musical in the 2000s.
This week, it will be performed by the Seymour High School choral department. Shows start at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Earl D. Prout Auditorium.
Kyle Karum, director of choral music at SHS, said the familiarity of the show should bode well, and the message is strong, too.
“The show, of course, is not exactly about Mary Poppins and Bert, but it has a lot to do with the Banks family and how they evolve over time and how all of them in their own ways need growth and improvement, and they all find that throughout the show just through the influence of Mary and Bert,” he said.
“One of the many great messages of the show is always room for improvement, always room for more love and more patience and more acceptance and those things,” he said.
While preparation for the show started at the beginning of the school year, Karum said casting wasn’t done until December, and the deep dive into the script, songs and choreography didn’t start until after the new year.
“It’s a lot of work. This is a very tough show,” he said. “The tech, the lights, the sound, the set pieces, the props, the crew, the pit, everybody has to come together with the cast to make it all happen. They are coming together, and everybody knows what job they have to do, when they have to do it.”
Being seniors, Chloe Hudson (playing Mary Poppins) and Gavyn Stagnolia (playing Bert) are excited about their final high school musical being so familiar to people.
“I’d say the main draw to ‘Mary Poppins’ is just because it’s such a classic, it’s such a household name,” Stagnolia said. “It was an amazing movie. It’s an amazing musical. It’s really hard, but it’s super worth it, it’s super fun just because it’s the songs that we grew up with. We know the songs, we’re familiar with the idea and it’s just super fun to be able to hop back into childhood, relive that and tell the story in our own way.”
Hudson said Mary Poppins’ songs are really fun and allow her to hit a lot of high notes, which works since she is a soprano.
Plus, she likes Mary as a character.
“I think she’s funny. I think she’s really sarcastic and witty. That’s my favorite thing about her,” Hudson said. “Normally, you’d think of Mary Poppins and you think she’s just really sweet and kind. But I think she’s just really sarcastic. I like that. It’s exciting to play such an iconic character. Everyone knows who Mary Poppins is.”
Stagnolia likes how Bert magically appears everywhere.
“There’s really no reason to why he’s there, and that sense of mystery is super fun. I think it’s super fun to be able to portray,” he said. “Bert is a little bit weird, but he’s also super sweet, which is kind of a mix of real life for me.”
Mary and Bert are both mysterious characters.
“Chloe and I are best friends in real life, so being able to play different characters who are also bonded in that way is super fun for us, too, and just making sure that the chemistry is where it needs to be,” Stagnolia said.
Hudson said people will be drawn to the show because they are familiar with it and it’s family-friendly, but Stagnolia said the musical is a little bit different than the movie.
“There are differences in the music, and there are some scenes that are not actually in the movie. Don’t come expecting exactly what you’ve seen in the movie,” he said. “It’s fun because we get to present a little bit different of a version. I just think it’s nice to put something on that the community knows because the community is rooting for us and it’s something that they can get excited over.”
The movie and musical also are popular because of the music and dancing.
Seniors Leigha Butler and Joslin Perry are among the cast music captains for the SHS show.
“I just love pushing people to the limit,” Butler said. “Everyone just gets together, and we come up with ideas to make it more fun and interactive.”
The key to it all is coordination, Perry said.
“Yeah, we can all dance, we can all sing, but at the same time?” she said. “Especially with ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,’ that dance is very fast at one point. It’s just the coordination separately, it’s just about putting it together.”
Perry said the pop music in last year’s musical, “Mamma Mia!” made it a lot easier compared to “Mary Poppins,” which has a lot of music and dancing together.
Adding in unique accents makes it even more challenging, Butler said.
The cast members, however, have been spending time working on harmonies and dance moves not only in rehearsals but during free time on school days, she said.
“We’re working really hard to make this show perfect for our community,” Butler said.
They expect the show to be good and exciting — oh, make that supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
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What: Seymour High School choral department’s musical production of “Mary Poppins”
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Earl D. Prout Auditorium at SHS
Cost: $10 in advance online at showtix4u.com/event-details/46532; $12 at the door
Principal cast: Chloe Hudson, Gavyn Stagnolia, Kaitlyn Proctor, Mikayla Myers, John Ortman, Abigail Hankins, Millie Hays and Peyton Kistler
Plot-essential characters: Liza Stuckwisch, Eli Abner, Kaylee Tudor, Carter Wiesman, Chandler Drummond, Zach Thompson, Grace Lewis, Zac Bowman, Mary Higdon, Grayson Key, Ethan Crane, Carly Kaiser, Jayla Gambrel and Eliana Baker
Other named characters: Joslin Perry, Angelina Corya, Jenna Wheeler, Chris Vojkufka, Josh Rennekamp, Vanessa Ross, Sam Fraizer, Thomas Fraizer, Elliot Fraizer, Luke Coomler and Titus Boyd
Director, producer and co-music director: Kyle Karum
Accompanist and producer: Karla Shutters
Pit orchestra conductor and co-music director: Kevin Cottrill
Marketing director: Dawn Jones
Costuming: Jessica Sanchez
Hair and makeup: Sam DeFriece
Sound design: Michael Goodpaster
Lighting design: Ali May
Choreographer: Sarah Arnold
Acting coach: Matt Nieman
Stage manager: Lilly Wilson
Student producers: Katie Burton, Courtney Arthur and Veira Robbins