Magical ‘Mary Poppins’ descends on LHS stage

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Messenger photo by Theresa Hennis
Among the cast members in London High School’s production of “Mary Poppins” are: (front row, from left) Tori Bennett as Jane, Sara Madden as Mary Poppins, Anthony Holfinger as Michael; (back row) Luke Peart as Bert, Paul Huff as Mr. Banks, and Emily Bennett as Mrs. Banks.

(Posted March 5, 2020)

By Theresa Hennis, Staff Writer

If you remember seeing the movie “Mary Poppins” as a child, and the feel-good songs still make you tap your toes and sing along, then you are sure to enjoy London High School’s stage production of the beloved story. Shows are set for 7 p.m. March 12-14.

“It’s the story of the Banks family, especially George Banks and his coming to realize that family is more important than anything,” said Scott Blanton, an English teacher at London High School and the show’s director. “Our production is a little different than the original movie. We have a few extra numbers, and the focus is on the Banks family.”

Senior Paul Huff and Emily Bennett play George and Winifred Banks, an uptight, wealthy couple in search of a new nanny for their children, Jane (played by senior Tori Bennett) and Michael (played by freshman Anthony Holfinger).

In comes the magically entertaining and nurturing Mary Poppins (played by senior Sara Madden), who takes the children on fantastical adventures along with her friend, Bert (played by junior Luke Peart), a chimney sweep and jack-of-all-trades.

“It’s nice to be stepping into such an iconic role, especially for my senior year,” Madden said. “I think this is a tale everyone loves, and our interpretation and production of it is fun. It’s a story from our childhood.”

Junior Stevie Cooper plays a teddy bear in the toy scene and serves as the production’s student director. About her fellow performers, she said, “The musical crew is like a family. Our lead characters are extremely good at what they do.”

The cast includes fourth- and fifth-graders, which Blanton said the theater program hasn’t done in a while, and there is a tap dance number, as well.

The show is filled with fun special effects, including a cabinet that comes apart and back together on its own, Mary pulling a hat rack from her carpet bag, and her umbrella coming and going magically.

Popular songs from the original include “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Step in Time” and “Jolly Holiday.”

Shows are set for 7 p.m. March 12-14 at London High School, 336 Elm St.

Blanton anticipates the show will sell out and encourages anyone interested in attending to buy tickets as soon as possible. Tickets purchased online are $6 for students and $8 for adults. Go to http://our.show/london-high-school-theatre-department/72776. Ticket purchased at the door are $8 for students and $10 for adults.

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