by Amber C. Nore
The magic of everyone’s favorite nanny, Mary Poppins, sparks into life this weekend at Community Players in Beatrice. The delightful production, directed by Jamie Ulmer, opened on Friday evening to a jam-packed house.
I took my niece, age 9, to see the show. Greeting us when we arrived were the rooftops of London, as the lights came up on Bert the Chimney Sweep “chim chim charoo”-ing us into the Banks’ house at Cherry Tree Lane. The musical, based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney Film, includes your favorite songs from the movie, in addition to new songs written for the play.
Jean Spilker is perfectly cast as Mary Poppins, rosy cheeks and everything. She sang, danced, and disciplined her way into the hearts of everyone at the show. I was especially impressed by the costumes in the show as they expertly recreated the classic look of all of the characters beloved from my childhood. Truly breathtaking!
The entire cast gave a magical performance, with the ensemble portraying a dazzling variety of characters. Leading the show, in addition to Ms. Poppins, were Mike Fox and Naomi Lutze as George and Winifred Banks. Their vocals and acting were picture-perfect. Also a standout was young actor Konner Kiesel in dual roles as Neleus the statue and Valentine the stuffed toy. Marissa Saure delivered a notable performance as the endearing Bird Woman, calling to us to “feed the birds, tuppens a bag.” Ms. Saure also served as co-choreographer. Kudos to her and fellow choreographer Matt Osmotherly (who made a very pleasant Bert) for utilizing the entire space for the cast to dance and bring to life magical songs. The show-stopping tap dance number “Step In Time” will have you full of joy!
My niece’s favorite character was Miss Andrew, the villainous nanny from Travers’s stories, brought to life by Amy Hansen. Many young actors were included in the show, including 5th-grader David Maurstad as Michael Banks and 7th-grader Arihanna Marlatt as Jane Banks.
The set was a character itself, full of secrets and surprises. To think of all of these actors working and/or going to school and then coming together to put on such an outstanding show is a true testament to the power of community theater.
“Mary Poppins” the musical originally debuted on Broadway in 2006 and was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Whether flying a kite, magically cleaning up an untidy kitchen or trying to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidoc
ious” you can guarantee the combination of sets, lighting, music, costumes, and talent in this local production will deliver a wonderful night out at the theatre to the young and young at heart. Thank you, Community Players!
If you go: Mary Poppins runs February 15, 16, 22, and 23 at 7:30 p.m., with matinees February 17 and 24 at 2 p.m. at the Beatrice Community Playhouse, 412 Ella Street in Beatrice. Tickets may be purchased by calling (402) 228-1801 or by visiting www.beatricecommunityplayers.
Amber C. Nore is a mom, reader, actress, singer, and writer who works full-time as a retail manager and loves using social media to tell stories about everyday people. This is her first review for Appearing Locally.
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