“Mary Poppins” coming to Northgate

Rehearsing a scene from “Mary Poppins” are: flying, Laken Burns (Mary Poppins); seated on wall, Paul Boyce (Bert); Watching from below, D.J. Powers (Mr. Banks), Ashleigh Mortimer (Mrs. Banks) Braden Largent (Michael Banks) and Felicity Dicken (Jane Banks). The Broadway musical is coming to high school stages for the first time this year, and will be presented by Northgate students for two weekends beginning March 20. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Between learning to fly and battling school closures, the Northgate cast and crew of “Mary Poppins” has faced some tough challenges in bringing the musical to the stage.

But as Laken Burns, who does not like heights but enjoys flying, says, “Mary Poppins can do anything!”

Director Karen Klicker said that the cast members have overcome any apprehensions about onstage flight. “The flying instructor was very experienced and handled any obstacles we encountered. It has added another dimension backstage with all the preparation and the presence of three different teams of flying operators, all of them parents or community volunteers who participated in a two-day training in order to fly the actors.”

Klicker said that it also has been very exciting working on a show that is so well loved. “Kait Mausser has choreographed a rousing version of ‘Step in Time.’ Schools that are performing ‘Mary Poppins’ have been granted the rights to recreate the original Broadway choreography for just one of the numbers, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,’ which is extremely challenging and a favorite with the cast.”

The Northgate production includes 21 elementary students. Klicker said that the high school students have formed close relationships with their younger counterparts, with all of them performing together in three of the numbers.

Speaking of other challenges the production has overcome, Klicker said, “We have had a virtual army of parents volunteering in all aspects of the production. It has been very challenging this year. With school being closed for eight days and canceling all evening activities, we missed almost 30 hours of rehearsal time. I am so proud of how the students worked, using instructional videos and recordings that we posted on our musical Web site.We have truly outstanding, determined, goal- oriented students.” 

The show will have a senior citizen preview on March 20, with doors open at 5:45 for a 6 p.m. curtain. The show also will run March 21, March 27 and 28, with a 7:30 p.m. curtain, and a children's show with activities and food, beginning at 4:45 p.m, with curtain at 6 p.m. on March 26.

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