‘Mary Poppins’ visits David Douglas High

Take a look, you’ll be reserving tickets to see the dancing, singing and fun the world’s favorite nanny will soon bring to the David Douglas High stage …

Actors, singers, and dancers in the David Douglas High School Theater program are preparing for their fall musical – “Mary Poppins”, debuting on November 11.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Almost as quickly as one can say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” a few times, the musical play “MARY POPPINS” will be opening on the stage of the Horner Auditorium at David Douglas High School (DDHS) on the evening of November 11, and playing for two weekends.

Members of the cast of 45 performers were diligently practicing tap dancing and gaining in skill, when East Portland News visited the theater complex in late October.

Working on big scene, DDHS Theater Instructor and Director Michael Givler provides direction to the actors, singers, and dancers.

“When we started, only one member of our cast did tap dancing, and you should see them all dance now!” beamed the show’s director, Michael Givler.

“I suggested presenting MARY POPPINS because, frankly, we really had the cast for the show; meaning great lead actors – who can sing,” Givler said. “We have the musicianship, the acting skills, and strong dancing as well.”

While many would consider this to be more of family show than a kids’ play, Givler said he saw how strongly students connected last year when they performed “Beauty and the Beast”.

Rehearsing parts for the upcoming production of MARY POPPINS are actors Eliza Fitch (who plays Mary Poppins) and Mitchell Martin (playing Burt).

About the story
The musical is based on the similarly-titled children’s books by P. L. Travers, as made into the Oscar-winning 1964 Disney film, featuring Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as her best friend, Bert. A stage musical version opened in 2004, and played to thousands of audiences until 2013.

MARY POPPINS is about a family undergoing “growing pains”, and feeling the pressure of society to conform; the parents are disconnected from their kids, and the kids react with anger, and by acting out.

The Banks family – Sarah Muller (as Jane) Dre Wollrabe (playing Michael), Trevor Brummett (as stern father George), and ‘Apikale Fouch (as easily-distracted ‘mum’) — can’t understand why every nanny they hire soon runs away from the family.

“They lose nannies again and again, who quit in disgust,” Givler said. “The magical Mary Poppins is the catalyst who helps them reconnect.”

The show is filled with toe-tapping sing-along-able numbers, including “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – and the stage is filled with colorful dance numbers throughout the show.

Who you won’t see at this show are the 25 student theater technicians who make the sets appear, and control the lighting and sound. In the pit, the 30 member DDHS Orchestra performs under the baton of Music and Vocal Director Jennifer Mueller.

The cast works on their big finish for the large production number, “Step in Time”.

MARY POPPINS opens November 11
The curtain goes up on the premiere performance of MARY POPPINS at 7:30 p.m. on November 11.

The show continues November 12, and on November 17, 18, and 19, at 7:30 p.m. Or, catch one of the two matinee performances at 2:30 p.m. on November 13 or 20.

Reserve tickets online: CLICK HERE. Or, call the Box Office at (503) 261-8270. The box office is now open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in late afternoon, at the David Douglas High School Horner Performing Arts Center, located at 1400 SE 130th Avenue, 97233 – between SE Stark and Division streets.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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