11 May Mary Poppins
When choosing a season I work incredibly hard to make sure that we are offering something for everyone. Beyond that, I work hard to make sure that the shows we pick hold a greater meaning, offering something our world needs more of or needs to hear. When I saw that MARY POPPINS Jr. had been released for licensing, I snatched it up immediately. What could our world need more this holiday season than a little bit of magic and imagination?
We didn’t open our season with this colorful joy, however. We had other important work to do first. We needed to mount ASSASSINS with our Semi-Pro cast. It was important for us to follow the conversations we opened during SPRING AWAKENING last Spring and make people reflect on how our society perpetuates the occurrences in our country, like the MSD shooting. We then had TAP DANCING THROUGH AUSCHWITZ. We needed to be there to show support for our oppressed friends who have suffered and are continuing to suffer in our country and world. We needed to provide a safe and loving environment for them to celebrate Chanukah together in prayer and peace. But now it is time for love, joy, magic, hope and celebration of the human spirit. Enter MARY POPPINS and PIPPIN.
As the doors of our studio were lovingly beaten down this fall by a new wave of BARCLAY families, we watched our MARY POPPINS numbers grow rapidly. The first day of our rehearsal we had the cast stand in a huge circle that hugged the entire theatre. Standing in the middle of the circle, looking at a sea of “find your voice sing your song” shirts, I felt responsibility and excitement bubble inside of me. I was witnessing magic on day one. A huge group of children all coming together for the common cause of telling the story of MARY POPPINS- a woman who uses her confidence and personal magic to help bring out the best in every person she touches, therefore, slowly but surely, creating a better world around her. I felt like Mary in this moment, having the opportunity to bring out the best in each one of these children with the hopes of sending them out into the world with more confidence and creativity than they came in with, with the hopes of them going on to create a better world. With the help of my stellar BARCLAY staff, I not only believe that has happened, but I believe that there is a good chance that these children are going to pass that right along to their audience members this week.
What our world needs this holiday season is to believe that there is still light and joy and hope and good and innocence and MAGIC in our world. Theatre is sometimes used for self-reflec- tion and history, as we used it for in ASSASSINS. Sometimes it’s used for catharsis, as we used it for in TAP DANCING. But sometimes theatre is used to bring us back to our hearts, to our childhood when the world was full of possibility and dreaming… and that is what we are using MARY POPPINS for. Mary reminds us to not be so caught up in our “adulting” that we forget to play with our children. Not to be so concerned about money and our careers that we take that stress out on those we love most. Not to chase popularity or a dollar instead of the right intention or idea. To remember that our children can take care of us sometimes too, and that family is our rock. Mary Poppins is a very wise woman, and these kids have embodied her messages in a way that is truly emotional and inspiring… but you are about to see that for yourselves.
I could not be more proud of or impressed with this cast of children or our BARCLAY theatre family and community. With confidence and intention, we move forward with each and every class and show, and with confidence and intention these 45 children between the ages of 5 & 13 will take the stage today to bring you to, as Bert would say, “places you’ve never dreamed of”… so sit back, and enjoy it.
“Anything can happen if you let it, life is out there waiting, so go and get it.” – Mary Poppins