Student’s bring beloved Mary Poppins to life November 21-23
By Chuck Gibson
The Loveland Middle School Drama Department pulls back the curtain on Mary Poppins Jr., Thursday night November 21. The show, directed by Carol Hall, with assistant directors Dora Slyder and Judi McDaniel, will feature a cast and crew of more than 80 students in performances Thursday-Saturday in the LMS Auditorium.
Expecting the worst from a new nanny, the children, Jane (Sabrina Halili-Felse-8) and Michael (Fintan Smith-8) are in for a shock with the arrival of Mary Poppins. The children embark on a series of fantastic and wondrous adventures with the magical nanny and her friend Bert. Soon they are trying to pass along Poppins’ sunny lessons of life to their parents. LMS director Carol Hall believes we all can learn to value one another through the mystical magic of Mary Poppins.
“We talk about the message throughout the show,” said Hall. “First it is about the family dynamic and Banks dysfunctional relationship with the kids. Mary Poppins heals that relationship.”
“All people are important,” she said. “It is a good message.”
The LMS Drama students have worked hard to give you great performances. Riley Loomis is spot-on with the Mary Poppins accent. It’s easy to imagine London, or at least Julie Andrews from that original 1964 screen version.
“Julie Andrews portrayed her in a bright wonderful way,” said Loomis. “I’m blending a little of the new version – a little tougher, but still soft.”
This is the third show for Loomis with LMS Drama, but her first singing solo. Her enthusiasm bubbles over talking about fun working with the rest of the cast and crew, improving her singing and watching everyone express themselves on stage.
“Mrs. Hall is amazing,” Loomis said. “She pushed me to go past my comfort zone. I’m so thankful. I would never have done this without her support. I just hope everyone really enjoys the show.”
Assistant director Dora Slyder talked about what you’ll see and hear with a simple one wall set with six different backgrounds and 19 different scenes. With a smaller than usual crew of 25, they’re having a lot of fun getting to know each other better. There are 40 chimney sweeps and 35 kids with kites. Judi McDaniel has the role of producer and Kent Slyder is set construction manager.
It is a simple set, but with a lot of moving pieces. The crew has to move fast too. There is no orchestra to cover during set changes. Slyder said the “backstage kids” have to learn as much choreography as the dancers. While the music is recorded, the cast performs all the songs and dances.
All the good songs from the original are in it: Chim-Chim Cheree, A Spoonful of Sugar, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Step in Time, Let’s Go Fly a Kite, and all the songs you remember from Mary Poppins. You won’t want to miss the chimney sweeps on the rooftops.
“It’s amazing how good they sing,” said Lloyd. “The acting is really good. They can act like professional actors; they stay in character.”
Ally Carpenter is another crew member who echoed the same praise for LMS Drama cast.
“Any show with a movie too is fun to see,” said Carpenter. “It is fun to compare child actors portraying what happened in the movie version. The talent is surprising.”
Just a couple days from the curtain opening, director Carol Hall told Mary Poppins (Riley Loomis) she was “feeling pretty good” about how the show is coming together. The kids have worked very hard. Hall has been director for LMS Drama five years, but has been involved with theater since she was in middle school herself. The full version of Mary Poppins is long, so when Mary Poppins Jr. came out, she knew it was the right show for this group of LMS Drama kids.
“It hasn’t been out that long,” she said. “It’s perfect timing, all the fun songs. It is going to be great.”
Loveland Middle School Drama presents: Mary Poppins Jr. When: November 21-23 Where: LMS Auditorium Showtimes: 7 p.m. Thu-Sat evening, 2 p.m. matinee Sat. Tickets are $9 plus processing free online and $10 at the door. To purchase, CLICK HERE Visit www.lovelandschools.org for more on LMS