Ursuline’s Mary Poppins musical hit the stage on February 28th through March 3rd. Many people adore the lively film, but few know where the story originates. Mary Poppins started as an eight-book series written by Australian-British writer P.L. Travers. The books tell the magical story of the English nanny, Mary Poppins and her adventures in the Banks’ household. Walt Disney transformed the words into a reality through his creation of a musical film and there have also been spin-offs such as Saving Mr. Banks in 2013 and most recently, Mary Poppins Returns in 2018.
Unique to other Ursuline performances, Mary Poppins was already a well-known and beloved story for students and faculty alike. Madeleine Crew ’20 comments that, “Mary Poppins was great because everybody knows it which made more people want to come see it.” The excitement of performing a fan-favorite also invites nerves as the question of, “Can we live up to the expectations that this show entails?” arises. Crew agreed that the biggest challenge she dealt with was aiming to live up to the standards set years before her in the famous film. Yet, she notes that the anxiety and nerves are all very manageable and minimal in comparison to the thrill of performing.
Kacie Frederick ’19 will be ending her Ursuline career fulfilled, “The people behind Mary Poppins made my senior year and gave me a dream come true that I will never forget and will forever be thankful for,” she reminisces. As it was her first year, Frederick was introduced to the program and in awe of “how professional it is and how much time and commitment everyone puts in.” Possibly the professionality of the Ursuline theatre department is the reason why actresses like Crew are able to perform to their best ability and forget their nerves. The cast and crew spent long hours preparing for the opening night, and the week before everyone stayed until 10:00pm. The drive and motivation that pushes six-hour rehearsals is evident.
Reflecting on the entire performance, Frederick says that to her the most impactful scene was “Playing the Game,” a moment when all of the toys come to life. The scene juxtaposes the sweet tale as it is “really scary and not what normally comes to mind when you think of Mary Poppins.” Crew concluded that her favorite scene was when Mary Poppins says, “With every job when it’s complete there is a sense of bittersweet,” noting that this resonated with her and the entire cast with the show’s ending.
The Ursuline community is encompassed with love, support and encouragement. Crew said that throughout every musical she continually realizes how lucky she is to be part of such an amazing community. “The people and teachers here are so, so amazing and kind.” Whether it be an encouraging fellow actress or teacher giving words of wisdom, the communal connection is strongly seen through the theatre family. Both Frederick and Crew agreed that the one thing they will miss most about Mary Poppins is all the people involved. Frederick said that she never thought she would become as attached to everyone as she did and is so grateful to have met everyone involved.
The magic of Mary Poppins was present on the Ursuline campus. The long hours and hard work that the theatre department put into the show was apparent. Though the show may be over, the magic is still in the hearts of all involved because, “The people behind Mary Poppins are really what made the show magical after all,” says Frederick ’19.