NEIGHBORS: Looking for something fun to see this weekend? Head over to Decatur for “Mary Poppins” – The Madison Record

DECATUR – Enter a magical world where chimney sweeps dance on the rooftops, toys come to life and a famous nanny flies through the air.

‘Mary Poppins’ is all about the magic and the ability to accomplish anything if you think about it, “said director Lauren Cantrell Salerno.” I feel like after the year has passed, coming out of this quarantine period and in overcoming the pandemic, we need a little bit of magic in our lives and we need a little friendliness. “

Dream Weavers Children’s Theater will present “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical” this weekend at the Princess Theater in downtown Decatur. The show will begin on Friday at 7 p.m. with additional performances on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $ 18 for adults and $ 15 for students and seniors.

Expect to hear the classic songs “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “Jolly Holiday”, “A Spoonful of Sugar”, “Feed the Birds”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, as well as new songs “Play the game” and “Anything can happen”.

While some songs and scenes will be familiar to “Mary Poppins” fans, the musical brings a new take on the iconic story, based on books by PL Travers and the original Walt Disney film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke . Julian Fellowes, creator of “Downtown Abbey,” wrote the book for the Broadway musical.

“It’s quite different. Some songs are in different places, there are new characters, and some characters are different from the movie. It draws heavily on Travers’ book in this way, ”said Salerno.

The 75-member cast is led by EA Gonzalez as Mary Poppins.

To prepare for the role of Mary, Gonzalez, who described the character as having more bite and edge than in the film, studied how different actresses performed the role of Mary Poppins.

“The good thing about this character is that now because there have been so many professional productions of the musical version so many fantastic women have played Mary. They all sound different and bring something new to the music. table. It was fun for me to put my Mary back together, ”Gonzalez said.

One of Gonzalez’s favorite moments occurs when she sings “Feed the Birds” with Susan Thompson.

“It’s beautiful, iconic and important. It’s a good, deep moment for Mary. There’s so much magic and fantasy, this song kind of brings her back to Earth and reminds kids how important it is to see people for who they are, ”Gonzalez said. “Also, being able to share the stage with Susan is a treat.”

Responsible for bringing the role of Bert to life, the character made famous by Van Dyke, is Drew Sybert.

“Dick Van Dyke is obviously a legend. This character is so rich, however, it’s easy to put your own personality and your own personality into it while still being that familiar character that people know,” said Sybert. that my Bert is fun, pretty silly, and has a lot of energy all the time. “

For the children’s lead roles of Jane and Michael Banks, Salerno dubbed the characters. Mary Reed McMasters and Avery Early will share the role of Jane, and Aiden Hodges and Joshua Minnon will play Michael.

“Only two children are in the series as it was originally written and I wanted to give the children as many opportunities as possible,” said Salerno. “We also created a set of 25 kids, who join in with the big numbers and a song where the toys come to life. “

For Minnon, the role of Michael represents a dream.

“I was in football training when I found out I had the role of Michael. I was so happy,” said Minnon, 12. “Since then I’ve watched the movie almost every day. I love this room so much.

Alongside Sybert, Gonzalez, McMasters, Early, Hodges and Minnon, the cast includes Brandon McLemore as George Banks, Melissa McMahan as Winifred Banks, Amber Eckenrode as Katie Nanna, Collin Riddell as Robertson Ay , Debra Davenport as Mrs. Brill, Ben Callahan as Admiral Boom, Courtney Blanchette as Miss Andrew, Emily Williquette as Mrs. Correy and Thompson as Bird Woman.

For the first time, Dream Weavers will present a sensory performance of “Mary Poppins”. During the Saturday morning, the lights in the house will not be as low, and talking and moving will be allowed. Salerno will also make a list of actions and events to be expected in the room.

“It’s really important that everyone can be themselves and experience live theater worry-free,” said Salerno. “We should do a sensory show for every production, without a doubt, especially for children. “

With over 125 people auditioning for the musical, Salerno sees interest and love for the performing arts growing at Decatur.

“I feel like Decatur is on the cusp of something big. It feels like we are desperate for the arts and we want it. The energy is there. It’s a great show to bring that energy and magic to the princess, ”said Salerno.

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