Mary Poppins lands on stage at GISH Oct. 29-31

Gage Brockmeier, Chloe Holsinger, Kerrigen Jelinek and Kainen Mora perform during a rehearsal before opening night.

By Jackie Ruiz, Reporter 

Students will take flight in this year’s musical production of Mary Poppins.

Sammantha Hanks, director of the musical, who is in charge of blocking and acting will be debuting her skills as well as this is her first year teaching at Senior High.

“Teaching here has been really great so far,” said Hanks. “The students are amazing and very hardworking.”

Mary Poppins first premiered on Broadway in 2006, but first aired in theaters in 1964 and was produced by Walt Disney. In that version, Mary was played by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke was the lead male.  It has been published many times in books, as movies, and as live action plays.

“Our version of the musical will be more book-based than movie-based, but will still have a lot of the same concepts,” said Hanks.

Mary Poppins is a heartfelt story about a nanny and five children who embark on a journey together. Two children of the Bank’s family, Michael and Jane, are trying to get the attention of their mother and father who are always preoccupied with work. Mary Poppins steps in and tries to teach the children about responsibility and morals.

“I think that students can relate to the musical because there are a lot of scenes that show universal struggle and having to live up to expectations that might not be easy,” said Hanks.

She explained that there will be many big musical numbers for students to enjoy and dances that are amazing to watch. Some of their big numbers include: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Step in Time,” and “Jolly Holiday,” to name a few.

Hanks also mentioned that students would be flying during the performance.

“We’re really excited for our visual effects. There will be a lot of people flying on stage,” she said, “We’ve brought in professionals to ensure safety, but it’s going to be fun for the audience to see.”

Gage Brockmeier, who plays one of the lead roles, Bert, said he believes the audience will thoroughly enjoy the production.

 “I think we’re going for a lot (a large production). But we want to show the school that we can do this and that it’s going to turn out amazing,” he said.

The character Bert, who narrates the musical, is a friend of Mary Poppins, played by Chloe Holsinger.

“Mary Poppins comes into the story to try and pick up the pieces of a broken family,” said Holsinger, “She is very quick witted and sure of herself.”

Holsinger explained that the theme is to be able to see things from a different perspective to figure out solutions to problems.

“I think that in the midst of COVID we forgot how to enjoy a good show. It was rare to see live theatre and what we’re doing this year is more traditional than last year.”

She said she believes it gives them a good opportunity to see everybody’s growth and involvement.

Holsinger said her favorite part about performing is being able to fully immerse herself in her character.

“When you’re playing a character you’re able to leave your problems behind. When I’m on stage I am no longer Chloe, I am my character.”

Holsinger served as the lead in last year’s musical and also had roles in “Elf” and was in the chorus of “Mamma Mia.”

Brockmeier has been in musical productions for the last two years, but this will be his first time being a lead. 

“It’s a little nerve racking, but I love the rush you feel when you’re on stage and I love entertaining the audience,” he said.

Students have been preparing for the musical during after school practices since mid August, on weekends, and during their free time. Many of the practices begin at seven and often last until 9 p.m.

“Everybody has been working hard, dealing with the pandemic, and overcoming challenges that we hope our effort is shown and seen by the audience,” said Brockmeier.

He said his main hope is that students feel inspired and that the musical shines a positive light on musical productions. 

“We hope that more students who were afraid to try out for the musical become more confident and want to join us,” said Brockmeier.

Hanks added that Mary Poppins is going to be a very exciting show filled with sorrow, happiness, joy, and more.

“Seeing everybody come together, being lively, and the pure heart and soul of the show is what I think will attract people. It was made about children, not for children, so there are more honest and enjoyable moments,” she said.

The musical will be performed on October 29, 30, and 31 at Senior High. Tickets went on sale Sept. 28 and can also be purchased online and at the door, if available, the night of the production. 

Tickets can be purchased at this link –

Students participating in the musical will not be wearing masks on stage during their performance, but will wear one when they are offstage. 

Hanks said that the cast and crew have been taking many safety precautions and doing their best to stay safe during rehearsals. 

Hanks said she and the other directors along with the crew hope to see everybody there in high spirits and “ready to enjoy the show.”

Published by gishislander

Journalism/Communications instructor at Grand Island Senior High School in Grand Island, Nebraska

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