‘Mary Poppins’ to float down to Stevenson

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 14, 2016

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“Winds in the east” are heralding the arrival of Stevenson High School’s musical rendition of “Mary Poppins,” which will run April 29-May 1.

Stevenson theater director Mark Johnson said the musical will offer some variety both to the student actors and to the audience.

“We picked it because we wanted to be sure that, as the years go by, we rotate through different types of shows, and it was time for us to do a family show,” he said.

“And I looked at what was available and what was being done in the area, and we thought this was the greatest choice for the company.”

“Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical” is based on the 1964 “Mary Poppins” Disney movie, which itself was derived from a series of books by author P.L. Travers. The musical version was first performed on Broadway in 2006 after earlier running in London, where it opened in 2004.

The musical’s story, set in 1910 London, is about the Banks family and the changes that a special, magical nanny brings into their lives. The musical also includes songs that the Disney film popularized, such as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Step in Time” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”

However, Johnson said some of the musical’s signature songs appear in different spots of the production, and some new songs are introduced as well. In addition, he said, the musical is more akin to the “Mary Poppins” books, in which Poppins communicates more with the whole family and not just the two misbehaving children, Jane and Michael.

More than 100 Stevenson students are expected to perform in the musical, and Johnson said the live aspect of watching the students present it makes it extra special.

“It’s one of those things that pretty much every single person grew up with this movie,” he said. “Whether you’re 50 or 5, this is something that almost every kid experiences — seeing the movie. Seeing it live onstage adds that special difference.”

Stevenson senior Victoria Smilnak plays the role of Mary Poppins. She said she saw the movie when she was young, and she explained that her character is a change from roles that she recently played at Stevenson, such as a terminally ill patient and an old lady.

“It’s just fun. It’s entertaining to watch the story. There is going to be entertaining costumes and dancing, and it’s overall magical,” she said.

Stevenson High School, 39701 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights, will present Disney’s “Mary Poppins” at 7 p.m. April 29-30 and at 2 p.m. May 1. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $12 for students and can be bought online at www.seatyourself.biz or at the door while available.

Learn more by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-2076.

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