The cast and crew of “Mary Poppins” took the audience on a magical journey during their opening night performance last Friday. The character of Mary Poppins, played by Emily Turtle didn’t just enter the lives of the Banks’ family, but the audience’s lives as well.
The audience was actively engaged from the moment Bert opened the show with “Chim Chim Cher-ee” until the curtain closed. With realistic sets and beautiful costumes paired with fun choreography the audience excitedly watched the story of Mary Poppins and the Banks family unfold in front of their eyes.
When asked about how it felt to finally perform in front of an audience, Turtle said, “Hearing the laughter, exclamations and cheering from audience members helped drive those of us on and off-stage to keep our energy up and to stay focused.”
The production’s choreography was a large contributor to the show’s success. The difficult quick moving steps in “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and the synchronized tap dancing in “Step in Time” truly brought the classic tale to life, making the audience feel as if they were apart of the show. The actor’s dedication to their roles made it clear that they gave their performances their all. It seems that everyone, onstage and off, had an equally a good time.
“The first weekend went wonderfully,” said Brooks Shatraw, who plays Bert. “Opening night was so fun because we had a very supportive group of people there and it was so exciting to finally tell this story in front of an audience and carry on the legacy of the iconic Mary Poppins books and film.”
Although this musical is very fun and upbeat it also serves as an example of what happens to a family when work is put first. Daughter and son, Jane and Michael, are pushed away from their father as he puts his job at the bank before anything and anyone else, leaving their mother stuck in the middle.
After receiving a visit or two from Mary Poppins, who is arguably the best nanny the children have ever had, and a revisit from Miss Andrews, Mr. Banks’ terrible childhood nanny, the family is able to form a stronger connection and understand what being a family truly means.
Kate Rocchio, who is new to the University of Rhode Island’s Theater Department but not to the stage, plays the role of Jane and has had a wonderful experience she’ll never forget from working with the cast and crew. Her absolute favorite number in the show is “A Spoonful of Sugar” because of the magic that Mary Poppins brings to that scene.
“It is a good thing I am supposed to laugh in that scene because it would be impossible not to,” Rocchio said.
Rocchio also mentioned that she was really happy with the audience because of all their support they showed her and her castmates with their standing ovation.
With a successful first weekend under their belt the cast and crew are looking forward to another round of performances this upcoming weekend.
The final performances of Mary Poppins will held in the Robert E. Will Theater located in the Fine Arts Center on April 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 28 and 29 at 2 p.m.