Students rehearse lines in preparation for Rochester Community Schools’ Summer Musical Theatre  production of “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical.”

Students rehearse lines in preparation for Rochester Community Schools’ Summer Musical Theatre production of “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical.”

Photo provided by Rochester Community Schools


RCS Summer Music Theatre presents ‘Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical’

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 12, 2023

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Rochester Community Schools Summer Music Theatre program returns this month with “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical.”

The Summer Music Theatre — offered for students in grades 7-12 — is operated as a professional production, from auditions through staging to technical arrangements, set design and orchestra accompaniments.

This year, over 120 students are participating in the program, which is coordinated by Rochester Adams High School Theatre Director JoAnna Pillsbury and Chad Zwolinski, the principal of the district’s summer learning program.

“You would be amazed at how much time and effort these kids put in,” Zwolinski said. “It’s not just kids on the stage. It’s kids behind the stage. It’s student directors. It’s a community of students and great, supporting staff behind them giving them those tools and reinforcing that love for the arts, which has just been so important to this program.”

In less than six weeks, all involved work together to present what school officials call a Broadway-quality show.

This year’s production, “Mary Poppins,” is the story of the Banks family, who have mischievous children and are in need of a new nanny. When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears at their doorstep, the family finds she is the answer to their prayers, but in the most peculiar way.

The story, school officials say, is brought to stage with dazzling choreography, special effects, and unforgettable songs, like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Step in Time,” “Feed the Birds” and many more.

“This year, we wanted to go as big as we possibly could with Mary Poppins,” said Zwolinski. “We have a flying component, which is just going to be something that I cannot wait to see.”

The Summer Music Theatre is “a legacy program” for RCS, according to Debi Fragomeni, the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning.

“It began in 1973, when we brought forward theatrical and music combinations together, which we are incredibly proud of,” she said. “Our fine arts program continues each year — including this year — to be designated as a best community music program, and this is a highlight, where we bring students from the entire district together to be able to offer not only a wonderful community experience, but offer our talented students the gift of the arts — whether it’s singing, music, stage production, lighting or more. There’s something for everyone.”

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. July 19-22, with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday, July 23, at the Rochester Adams High School Performing Arts Center, 3200 Tienken Road in Rochester Hills.

Tickets are available online for purchase at www.smt.ludus.com and cost $14 for students and $16 for adults.

“Our first day offering tickets, we had record ticket sales,” Zwolinski said. “Every year, every show pretty much sells out, but this year, they are going at a record pace.”

Donations to the program can be made through the “donate” tab at www.smt.ludus.com.