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Valley Journals

Mary Poppins pops into Draper Amphitheatre this June

May 17, 2018 01:49PM ● By Michelynne McGuire

Sarah Ogden and Greg Dowse in character as Mary Poppins and Bert. (Draper Arts Council)

By Michelynne McGuire | m.mcguire@mycityjournals.com

The popular movie “Mary Poppins” has been adapted to a theatre production, and will take place at Draper Amphitheatre with performances this June 1, 2, 4, 5, 9 and 11. Director Susan Demill, who is also the choreographer, has adjusted the play to keep it as light-hearted and child friendly as one could hope for. Even adults just may find themselves rekindling their inner child.

“Totally kid friendly, cut out all the dark, and really it’s whimsical, bright, with bright colors and great costumes,” Demill said.

Costumes will reflect the time period of the 1900s, and there will be enchanting music and lively dancing, as well.

Mary Poppins is a nanny whose purpose is to improve a family’s life. Her magical personality transforms them and unites them again as a happy family.

A resounding theme amongst members of the cast was that this play has such a great message.

Sarah Ogden, who is delighted to play Mary Poppins, said, “I think that for me, to share a message of love and appreciation of family through music and dance, everyone should come.”

Greg Dowse, who plays Bert, described his character as a “narrator, jack of all trades, painter and chimney sweep.” “There are things that you’ll like and even more that you’ll love,” he said. “All of it’s going to be fantastic. A show that brings light to the world, and brings happiness of childhood back.”

Demill teamed up with Music Director Tricia Swanson to take community theatre to the next level.

Brielle Anderson, who plays the bird lady, said that after three years, coming back to such a great theatre feels like you’re there with family. “It’s the directors for sure,” she said. “‘Things’ aren’t what matters; its kindness — we shouldn’t look down on people or judge people’s situations. We’re all human,” said Anderson.

The play keeps the traditional musical style, with a few tweaks to make it more fluid for a theatre production, but the theme remains strong.  

Some fun additions include the butler, a role from the books but not the movie. This character is played by Bounta Nomichit, who noted a powerful takeaway for this show is that “it’s not about being a great nanny, but to work together, to work as a family,” Nomichit said.

And there’s another special treat in store: a company from California is flying in to do something special. “[You] can’t do Mary Poppins without it, it’s kind of an iconic thing,” said Demill.

 It’s no wonder multiple cast members said how these directors are a huge reason they come back every year to participate in shows.

With the singing, dancing, props and amphitheatre setting under the stars, this show is sure to shine. 

Julie Hadlock, who plays Winifred Banks, the mother of Michael and Jane Banks, shared that “this show is really fun. It’s about fixing this family, this man who is lost causing the whole family to be topsy turvy. Just to watch this transition, watch the healing and coming together as a family, changes to happily married, and children have a stable family and are taken care of as well.”

However the theme may resonate with audiences, this play carries a powerful message, the power of one person’s ability to change those around them using the influence of love.