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Mary Poppins Dazzles and Amazes

Photo Credit: Victor O'Neil Studios

Photo Credit: Victor O'Neil Studios

By Peter Heller, Staff Writer

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Starting on April 28, a group of Flint Hill students will be putting their own twist on the classic musical, Mary Poppins. Every two years, Flint Hill upper school students have a chance to come together and put on a musical. This year’s musical follows the spectacular rendition of Bye Bye Birdie two years ago, with several of the actors from that musical returning again to play roles in Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins is the story of a British nanny who makes it her mission to fix the spoiled children of the wealthy Mr. Banks in London with the help of a little bit of magic and a spoonful of sugar. Although she sets out to fix the spoiled kids, Mary Poppins ends up teaching them more about themselves and how true magic comes from within. It’s a classic tale with many versions and spin-off works. The Flint Hill production is aiming to be a more traditional version of Mary Poppins, ditching the highly-fantasized Disney version in lieu of the more classic, pre-Disney version of Mary Poppins, which the modernized musical adaptation more fully represents.

“We [the cast of Mary Poppins] are going with a mixture of the book and the movie,” said senior Olivia Hernandez, who plays Mary Poppins herself in the musical. “The novel has a little bit of a darker portrayal of Mary…so, you’ll see a little bit of that darker side of Mary, but you’ll also see the fun, lighthearted movie part of her, too.”

Ruthie Rado, director of Mary Poppins, has adjusted to the Husky community fairly well. This is Rado’s first time directing a musical at Flint Hill.

“Although much of the plot, characters, and musical numbers will be familiar to fans of the movie, the show has a more in-depth plot and some new characters,” she said. “While our performance pays homage to the film at certain moments, it was very important to create our version of Mary Poppins. As a result, our actors are giving original, honest, and funny performances that are true to themselves.”

Freshman Simon Van Der Weide credited her for her expertise and talent.

“I think she’s a wonderful director. She’s amazing, and she brings a lot to the table,” said Van Der Weide, adding, “She’s doing a wonderful job.”

A wonderful job is right: after the incredible preview performance shown at GMU, students are buzzing and excited to see more.

“I think the GMU show went spectacularly well,” said freshman Mohammed Badawi.“[Students] should come to the main showings if they want to see stuff like that again.”

Hernandez, the musical’s lead, returns for her second and final Flint Hill School musical, and is exceptional in her rendition of the character of Mary Poppins.

“I am very excited to be playing the lead. Originally, I was very nervous about the idea,” she said. “But throughout this whole process, the cast has been nothing but incredibly supportive. I’m very excited to show everyone what we have been working on for the past few months.”

The play has been a massive time commitment for all of the students involved. In the week leading up to opening night, rehearsals run from four to ten every night.

“It [the play] is a big commitment,” said Dhruv Pillai, sophomore. “We the cast have all been putting lots of time into [Mary Poppins].”

The amount of time and energy students like these have been pouring into the play shows the dedication to the craft and enthusiasm these students have for the performing arts.

“You will not find a more entertaining way to spend a Friday or Saturday night. This performance is hilarious, touching, and dazzling. And, it’s a great way to cheer on your fellow Huskies!” said Rado.

Excitement for the play has already been building after a spectacular showcase of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” at GMU last Wednesday, and everyone is excited to see more of what the musical has to offer. All in all, the musical is shaping up to be a cheerful and exciting romp through the wacky and wonderful world of Mary Poppins. Performances start at 7:00 pm on April 28-29 and May 5-6 at the Lower School’s Olson theater.

Olivia Hernandez and Henry Jeanneret give a wonderful preview of the musical at the GMU concert. Credit: Victor O’Neill Studios.

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Mary Poppins Dazzles and Amazes