America’s practically perfect favorite nanny has landed at the Grant Public Schools Fine Arts Center, and she is creating quite the stir. LionHeart Productions presents its latest fall musical, Disney’s Mary Poppins, and they have pulled out all the stops for this show. “We’ve stretched LionHeart in directions it has never tried before,” states Director Ron Jenkins. “It’s been a challenge on many fronts, but well worth it and I believe our patrons will agree.”
Disney’s Mary Poppins is based on the stories of P. L. Travers, and tell of a magical nanny who arrives just in time to save the Banks’ family from repeating the mistakes of the past. Mary Poppins is played by Annette Deaton who brings just the right amount of charm and sass to her role. Her voice is melodic and beautiful. Counter to Deaton is Mat Emerick who plays the role of the lovable chimney sweep, Burt. Mat’s experience with clowning adds just the right amount of fun and humor to his role. The Banks’ children, Michael and Jane, are played by Steven Sower and Jordyn Fortuna respectively. Their youthful voices are a nice blend with Deaton’s, and they carry themselves with every bit of professionalism.
George and Winifred Banks, Michael and Jan’s parents, are played by Mark Walters and Julia Coles. Mark plays the tight strung, conservative banker adeptly, and Julia will have your heart as the confused yet willful wife of George.
Mary Poppins sees some regular LionHeart performers return. Graydon Gesler playing the dimwitted house boy, Robertson Ay against Kathy Jenkins’ grouchy house keeper, Mrs. Brill is pure comedic gold. Sharolyn Metternich plays the “Holy Terror,” Miss Andrew as though she was born for this role, and Jack Long lends his joviality to the role of Admiral Boom. While not new to LionHeart, but new to the stage is Dana McKnight playing Miss Lark, who I might add is unfortunately upstaged by her dog, Willoughby, played by the lovable Boston Terrier, Ellie. And Kate Sower will melt your heart in her vocal role as the Bird Woman. The ensemble sees a mix of youth and adults, and are kept quite busy through the show with a minimum of five costume changes each.
Speaking of costumes, Kathy Jenkins and her crew of stichers have done a marvelous job. Truth is after the show I wondered if the costumes stole the performance. That’s all I heard about; “those costumes.” Mike Gesler’s set design is every bit a part of the show with many “special” features woven in to help bring the magic of Mary Poppins to life. The pit, directed by Courtney King, gives a wonderful performance in their own right. And the tech side, so often overlooked, adds wonderfully to all the drama and excitement.
I really do not want to give away all the secrets and wow factor that LionHeart Productions has put into this production, but suffice it to say, you will not be disappointed. Plus who doesn’t like singing along to such favorites as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Step In Time, and Chim-Chimney. Mary Poppins runs this weekend Friday, November 16 at 7:30, and Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 and 7:30. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors. You can purchase tickets online through lionheartproductions.org, at the Fine Arts Center Box Office any day from 3:00-6:00 pm, or on the day of the performance.
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