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Mary Poppins: A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious show

Beth Shifflett, Staff Reporter

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Chimney sweepers, flight, magic, and the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” are only a few of the things that come to mind when “Mary Poppins” is mentioned. The Albemarle High School drama department will be putting on this play as the annual spring musical this year. This classic show with a Broadway-style spin is loved by cast and crew, and is expected to be a great show.

A few key differences between the film and the musical include different character developments and songs. For example, Jane and Michael are more so portrayed as naughty children, and the backstory of Mr. Banks is greatly expanded on. Also, songs like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Feed the Birds” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” were modified from their original purpose in the film to better fit the musical.

“It’s nice because it stays true to the movie that everybody knows, but there’s also some newer stuff that’s just specific to the Broadway musical, which is always cool because there are some curveballs in there,”senior Ali Scheinfeld said. “I have overall really liked the show.”

Scheinfeld will be playing the role of Mary Poppins. For her, one of the best and most exciting parts of the role is getting to fly.

“Just being in the air is really cool,” Scheinfeld said. “In general, the whole concept of it is just so awesome, that I get to do that.”

Scheinfeld will be flying a total of three times throughout the play once over the stage and twice over the audience.

“I mean, it’s always so cool,” Scheinfeld said. “During “Phantom” they have the chandelier fly, but flying people is just a completely different thing, and I think it’s going to add a really cool element to the show.”

Mary Poppins will be Scheinfeld’s first lead role in an Albemarle production. Her extensive background in theater, starting at eight years old, has prepared her for the pressure of the lead role.

“You’re a lot more upfront,” Scheinfeld said. “When you’re in the ensemble you’re a little more in the background and you’re less focused on, but when you’re a lead, you get picked on for every little thing. It’s good because it makes you a better character, but you have to be a lot more accountable for what you’re doing.”

She also said that having the lead role can be very stressful, with the amount of time and work that she has to put in every rehearsal being even more than others because of her limited breaks.

In addition to how hard she has to work as a lead, as a senior and a main character she has to be able to set a good example for the younger cast members.

“Our drama department doesn’t run like a normal high school drama department. It’s very intense and there’s a lot of responsibility placed on each person,” Scheinfeld said. “It’s difficult to get used to and often times for the new members in the department, you’re thrown right in without a whole lot of expectation about what’s going to happen. So the more experienced members in the department are definitely looked up to to set an example, because it’s not easy coming in to the department.”

Freshman Joseph Lorber, who has a major role in playing Mr. Banks, benefits from all of the experience in the department.

“It’s good to be surrounded by people who have a lot of experience doing this, because they’ll often have tips,” Lorber said. “It does sometimes feel like you are expected to know more than you do.”

Lorber has been involved in theater for a while, but this is the biggest production that he has ever been involved in.

“I think I’m most nervous about forgetting my lines or messing up some blocking, because if I’m not in the right place when somebody says something, everything’s just screwed up,” Lorber said.

As a freshman, he has to work harder than others in some ways. While he said that others do more and have to work harder than him to perfect more things than he has to, he said that there is a learning curve, especially on an experience level.

The only other freshman with a lead role is Austin Glennon, who will be playing Michael Banks.

Not all of the hard work is going straight to center stage, however. The backstage crew, headed by senior Claire Flores as assistant director, sophomore Emeline Shepard as stage manager and sophomore Belle Kress as assistant stage manager, also put in tremendous amounts of work leading up to opening night.

“Our rehearsals are guaranteed at least 30 minutes longer than everybody else’s,” Flores said.

“We are expected to stay and work during dinner and breaks while actors are taking breaks because we have stuff to do,” Shepard said. “It takes a lot of energy.”

All three said that any other extra curriculars are next to impossible to manage along with the musical because of how hard you have to work on the play, but that the stress is most definitely worth it.

“For me, I’ve never worked backstage before, so [my favorite part] is seeing the show be put together from a completely different side,” Kress said.

“We had three weeks to a month less to put it all together, so this week and next week, because they’re right before the show, are more strenuous,” Flores said. “It’s all going to be worth it though, because we all really like this show. I’ve found that the more you are involved in production staff, the less ‘fun’ it can seem like while you’re doing it, but after it always seems more fun and worth it.”

In addition to having such large roles backstage, Flores and Shepard will both be chimney sweeps, and Kress will play the role of Ms. Andrews.

The Albemarle production of “Mary Poppins” will be put on April 27-30. More information on the play and tickets can be found at http://www.seatyourself.biz/ahspresents.   

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