Brentwood bringing magic of ‘Mary Poppins’ to stage
Audiences will soar into the magical world of “Mary Poppins,” as Brentwood Middle/High School students bring the famed show to life April 11-13.
The cast and crew of about 60 students will leap across chimneys, fly kites high in the sky and share the importance of family through song and dance.
“It’s so magical. It’s unlike anything in real life ever,” said senior Zana Daghles, 17, who plays Mary Poppins.
The show — Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins” — loosely follows the plot of the P.L. Travers book and 1964 film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in which nanny Mary Poppins uses her magic to bring a family together.
“There is a universal theme behind it. Everyone’s family isn’t perfect. Sometimes families aren’t, and that’s just fine,” Daghles said. “Just the belief in yourself and those around you… if you lift each other up, if you have that energy, that you can do whatever you want.”
Audiences will be singing along with the cast, said senior Thomas Hayden, 17, who plays Bert.
Brentwood is known for its family-friendly shows. They’re what the community loves to come see, said director Ginnie Schaap.
Going into this year’s show, Schaap said, she knew Brentwood had a “huge star vehicle,” in Daghles. Schaap sat back in the Brentwood auditorium and watched as Daghles performed and just smiled.
There were some surprises during auditions, though.
A sixth-grader who had never been in shows before came in and knocked everyone’s socks off — Millie Foley plays Jane Banks.
In Brentwood, budgets are tight. All money for the musical comes from the previous year’s ticket sales.
But through a team effort, the show always goes on. Each year, teacher Ben Miller designs the sets alongside Schaap, maintenance worker Earl Miers builds them and Sue Hawrylak makes the costumes while also serving as producer.
This year’s show has several large production numbers, and the cast has been perfecting them since November.
Rehearsing every day together has turned the cast into “a giant family,” said junior Seth Nordeen, 16, who plays Mr. Banks.
Theater is how he made most of his friends when he came to Brentwood, he said.
“Everyone’s so kind and accepting of each other,” said sophomore Aleah Lattner, 15, who plays Mrs. Banks.
“It’s a really nice environment to be in,” Nordeen added.
What makes the show special, Schaap said, is the cast.
“I have insanely talented kids at this school,” said Schaap, who has been directing Brentwood musicals for 12 years. “The musical’s reputation has come to a point where the kids want to be in it, but it’s also making them feel like they have a tradition to uphold.”
This year’s show is one of the most interactive productions Brentwood has done, Nordeen, said.
“The audience is integrated more,” he said.
Cast members dance and sing throughout the aisle, and there’s even a scene where audience kids can take part in some of the magic, Schaap said.