Friday, July 25, 2014

Alluvion premieres play

‘Mary Poppins’ focuses on the bond between relatives

With the success of the recent film “Saving Mr. Banks,” the beloved character of Mary Poppins is making a comeback, and it is fitting that Liberty’s Tower Theater will end this season with a theatrical version of the well-known story.

“‘Mary Poppins’ is a fun-loving, family friendly musical that teaches love, respect and the importance of family through singing, dancing and a flying nanny,” Rachel Lind, one of the members of the play’s ensemble, said.

Classic — The audience enjoyed a night of family-centered entertainment. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Classic — The audience enjoyed a night of family-centered entertainment. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Lind said the plot of the musical follows that of the “Mary Poppins” movie, but it also focuses more on the relationship between the children and their parents. There is also a slightly larger emphasis on the change of heart in Mr. Banks, a side of the story that was specifically highlighted by the recent film.

Actress Rachel Osterhus agreed that the musical is definitely more family-centered.

“Among other things, (Mary Poppins) teaches (the Banks family) to cherish each other, which is one of my favorite lessons from the production,” Osterhus said.

Besides being an actress in the play, Osterhus is also one of two dance captains. She and fellow actress Sarah Seaman are responsible for keeping up with all the choreography and making sure everyone’s dancing is on point.

The casting process began in November. Auditions involved singing and dancing as well as monologues.

Lind said the cast has been in rehearsals since the end of February. Much of that time involved learning chorography, according to Osterhus.

“We had our choreographer from Broadway (showing) us original ‘Mary Poppins’ Broadway choreography, so you can imagine it was pretty hard to learn right away,” actor Jonathan Hogue said.

Despite the large time commitment, he said learning the dances is rewarding. He was enthusiastic about being a part of all the dance numbers and the show in general.

“I think this story is just such a joy, and every rehearsal I’ve gone to, you can see that the rest of the cast feels the same way,” Hogue said. “They all love this story and this music, and they want to contribute to the joy and magic that it’s sharing.”

And according to Osterhus, it is not just the story and the end result but also the pieces in between and pulling it all together that makes the process worth it.

“For me, this process has been challenging, overwhelming, exciting, frustrating and rewarding,” Osterhus said. “It’s been such a joy to be part of such a wonderful cast under wise and excellent directors and managers.”

Osterhus said students should enjoy the musical because of its fun and heartwarming nature. Hogue added that people should see the musical because it is bigger than anything the Tower Theater has hosted before.

“‘Mary Poppins’ is the kind of show that anyone and everyone can enjoy,” Lind said. “Students will walk out of the theater humming the familiar tunes that they know and love from the movie, as well as (having seen) a great message about the importance of family and the love a family has for each other.”

For more information about performance times and ticket prices, visit alluvionstage.com or call 434-582-2078.

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