Written by: Patricia Nunez-Mejia
Performance Riverside, along with Riverside City College, will be presenting “Mary Poppins”, a Broadway show in the Landis Performing Arts Center on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.
With about 64 people working on the show, including cast, students and an orchestra, this ensemble is almost ready for the curtain.
“It’s a healthy, big ol’ Broadway show.” says Gary Krinke, one of the directors of the show who has been working along side with Performance Riverside for 16 years, putting together shows like “Ragtime”, “Shrek”, “Tramp of Love”,“West Side Story”, and many others.
Although Disney’s cinematic adaption of Mary Poppins from 1964 is what many are more familiar with, this play originates from the books by P.L. Travers.
“There’s very little material similar to the movie other than a couple of songs, but a lot of the songs for the Broadway show were eliminated. Some new material was written, obviously, but it’s much more based on the book.” says Krinke.
John Massey, who also has a history working for Performance Riverside, will be playing the iconic role of George Banks.
“There are some changes made to the show from the movie. So people that come to see this expecting the movie, they’ll be surprised.”
Although the show might be a little different from the classic movie, we can still expect some classic tunes such as “Spoonful of Sugar”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, “Chim Chimney”, “Feed the Birds” and some incredible new music.
There is also a lot of serious character development in the play.
“There is an incredible character arch with [Mr. Banks]. He goes through a major transformation in the show.” Massey says. “At the beginning he is very stern. He’s very driven by his career and driven by money and driven by his status in society and what he fails to realize that part of his life driving him means he is losing his wife and his children, who are the more important things.”
Stephanie Wall, playing the lead as Mary Poppins, has been a performer her whole life. Wall and Massey joined the cast in early September even though the rest of the cast has been rehearsing since late August. A lot of teamwork helped the two actors get right back on track.
“Sometimes families need a little extra help. And sometimes a very special person comes into their life and takes control of the reigns while they get things sorted out.” Wall elaborates on her character.
“Mary Poppins and Bert resolve some major issues within the kids, and they piece this family back together. When Mary Poppins and Bert leave, they’ve left this beautiful, healed, repaired, happy, functioning, family. It’s about family more than anything.”
Bringing a production like this to life takes much more than just professionalism, it also takes pouring their souls and devoting themselves to their characters. A lot of love towards what they do is what really ties up this production.
“I can’t live without doing this, and creating art.” Wall says. “There’s a fantastic pay off, but it’s a lot of work.”