Monday, July 15, 2024

WJCC Schools on Stage: Jamestown High School Presents Mary Poppins

The Jamestown High School cast of Mary Poppins. (Maddie Weiler)

WILLIAMSBURG — Jamestown High School Theatre pivots from last year’s performance of Mean Girls to the classic Mary Poppins April 11-13.

Mary Poppins tells the tale of two wealthy children who learn they will be getting a new nanny. When Mary arrives, the children are pleasantly surprised. Through the show, Mary and the children embark on a variety of adventures with Mary’s trusty sidekick Bert. The children hope to pass on some of Mary’s sense of adventure and personality to their very busy parents.

Due to insurance reasons, the JHS production will not feature a flying Mary, but Director J. Harvey Stone has found other ways to bring the magic of the show to the stage.

“I always told myself that I wouldn’t do Mary Poppins if Mary couldn’t fly. For safety reasons, we can’t fly her. I had just come to the realization that I’d never do the show. I said to myself, ‘Harvey you are a creative person, the audience is here to suspend their disbelief, they know that she isn’t really flying.’ Once that hiccup was over in my own head, I knew it had to be Mary Poppins,” Stone said.

The process of selecting a show is something that Stone said he deeply analyzes, thinking of his senior class and what they have been exposed to during their time on the JHS stage.

“I really try to think about what the students have done if they’ve been in theater all four years. I want to make sure they have an accurate representation of the musical theater repertoire,” Stone said.

When the audience comes to the show, Stone is hopeful that it brings awareness that two things can be happening at once, both thematically and literally.

Mary Poppins will be presented by Jamestown High School (Maddie Weiler)

“My concept for the show is that two things can be true, two things can be happening at one time. Does the Banks family need Mary Poppins or do they not need her at all? Every turn of the show represents that duality. Every set piece turns around and reveals another function, there are some actors that are cast in two completely different roles to sort of bring that idea to the forefront,” Stone said.

Mia Meadows, a Jamestown High School senior who is playing the role of Mary Poppins, hopes that those who come to see the show are left with a sense of childlike wonder.

“I’m really hoping that everybody who sees this show is able to be swept up by the imaginative aspects of it. I don’t want to say that I want to turn everyone into a little kid, but I want everyone to feel that way when they are watching the show. I really hope we’re able to transport people and make them feel as though they get to experience the magic of feeling like a kid again,” Meadows said.

Kaitlin Luberus, a fellow JHS senior who is playing the role of the Bird Woman, started in theater only two years ago. She is grateful to Stone for casting her in this role, as she feels a very special connection to it.

“Mr. Stone is very passionate about the Bird Woman, so I’m very grateful that he’s chosen me to play this role for him. It’s been feeling to me like I’m playing the Mr. Rogers type of character through the show. I’m the raggedy, weird bird woman who is kind of crazy, but I think she really showcases the message that the littlest things matter in life,” Luberus said.

Mary Poppins will open at Jamestown High School on April 11 at 7 p.m. Shows will continue on April 12 at 7 p.m., and April 13 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and are available online.

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