Mary Poppins settles into her new job as governess to Michael and Jane Banks in the Paris High School production of “Mary Poppins.” Left to right, Kalvin Rigdon as Michael Banks, Caitlin Blair as Mary Poppins and Shayleigh Cline as Jane Banks. (Gary Henry/The Prairie Press)

It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Paris High School will present the Broadway musical “Mary Poppins” Friday, April 13, Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, at the Paris Center of Fine Arts.

A total of four shows will be presented by the cast at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. There is a special show at 1 p.m. Saturday that will include the 50 Paris kindergarten through eighth grade students who attended a special workshop in March. Those students will join the cast on stage for “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” according to director Tanner Laughlin.

A veteran of the PHS stage who has helped behind the scenes at the high school in recent years and directed Crestwood musicals, Laughlin said he selected “Mary Poppins” because he, “always picks a show for the entire family.”

Tickets for the show go on sale today at 2 p.m. in the Paris Center of Fine Arts at Paris High School. All tickets are reserved and $10. The Saturday afternoon show tickets are $10 but not reserved, Laughlin said.

Laughlin said the musical is not only family friendly but features, “the music and characters generations have come to know and love.”

Joining Laughlin as the creative team for the production is assistant director Agnes Wright, choreographer Jane Smittkamp, music director Kevin Pruiett, choral and assistant music director Jessica Hendrickson and set designer Dave Speicher.

Filling the role as Mary Poppins is senior Caitlin Blair, a veteran of the Paris stage. Bert, the chimney sweep, is played by her brother, Sean Blair, a PHS junior.

“Sean has really enjoyed learning to tap dance,” Laughlin said. “He leared the basics in ‘White Christmas’ and has moved on to bigger challenges.”

George Banks is portrayed by junior Bryce Gladding while Sadie Cassity is his wife, Winifred Banks, and Shayleigh Cline is Jane Banks. The part of Michael Banks will be shared by Mayo students Chance Westerfield and Kalvin Rigdon.

While the familiar songs, ““Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “Jolly Holiday” and “A Spoonful of Sugar,” are included, Laughlin said there are a couple of new songs as well as new characters. 

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” takes place in a different location but is every bit as fun and rollicking as the 1964 movie, the director said.

“We’ve got a few surprises as well as well as some stage magic we think everyone will enjoy,” he said.

When Walt Disney was wooing author P.L. Travers for permission to make the movie of her book, Travers revealed the story was not really about the practically perfect nanny but rather saving George Banks. 

Laughlin said he is proud of Gladding who has tackled   the George Banks role which, “requires character development. It’s been great watching him really hone his acting skill.”

There are a total of 16 seniors involved in all areas of the musical, Laughlin noted. There 65 students on stage, 15 musicians in the orchestra and 10 crew members. “I am especially proud that all the scene changes will be done by students,” he said.

“There have never been so many set pieces and moving parts in a show,” the director observed. He said Speicher and countless dads have spent hours in the scene shop putting the set together.

One of the major set pieces — the Banks home on  Cherry Tree Lane — came from Pekin, Ind., high school. The band director there is PHS alum Matt Lindley whose wife is also the chorus teacher. They had just done “Mary Poppins.”

Laughlin said Lindley’s niece, Hannah Bowers, is a cast member in the PHS show. “It was great networking,” he said.

Those attending will also be able to a part of the musical in the second act. 

“We will have lighted star wands available for purchase that will be included in the night sky scene,” he said.

The Prairie Press

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