Quincy Valley Allied Arts to present ‘Mary Poppins’

| February 18, 2020 10:53 PM

It is the company’s most ambitious production yet

QUINCY — Quincy Valley Allied Arts will raise the curtain on its most ambitious production to date later this week. “Mary Poppins” opens Feb. 20 in the new Quincy High School theater, at 403 Jackrabbit St. NE.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Feb. 20, 21, 27 and 28, and matinees at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and 29.

“Mary Poppins” is the story of a magical nanny (Stephanie Moore in the QVAA production) who flies into the lives of Jane and Michael Banks (Emma Foley and Lev Roseburg). Jane and Michael have run off the nanny — again — to the despair of their mother, Winifred (Carrie Bews), and the exasperation of their dad, George (Paul Slager). But Mary Poppins is not there to discipline the children. She’s there to give Dad a lesson. She does that with the help of her friend Bert (Taylor Street) and the magical denizens of Hyde Park.

The play, which premiered in London in 2004 and on Broadway in 2006, is based on the books by P.L. Travers and the 1964 Disney movie.

Director Tom Parrish said it was the company’s “largest undertaking since its inception back in 1999. It is a large cast with lots of dancing, music and flying.” (A story on making Mary and Bert fly was published in the Feb. 13 Columbia Basin Herald.)

Flying is not the only challenge.

“I grew up watching Mary Poppins,” Moore said. “I remember dancing and singing around in my living room.” Because the story is so familiar, the audience is going to have an expectation for the production, she said.

“I want to make sure I get the character right,” she said.

There were some differences between the movie and the books, and the play is a combination of the two. Moore said she feels a responsibility to make sure Mary Poppins is Mary Poppins. “I’m trying to find a happy balance in the middle.”

But the decision to play Mary Poppins was easy. When she was offered the role, Moore said, “I dropped everything and jumped at the chance, because it only comes around once.”

Street said he tried out for any role available, but what he really wanted was to play Bert. “I was super-pumped, especially when I found we were flying. That was a huge bonus.”

The character of Bert was written for the movie, and Street said the actor who played him has been an influence on his own career in community theater. “Dick Van Dyke has been a huge influence, and not just to my acting in Mary Poppins, but all my acting.”

Bert is one of those characters that everybody remembers and that carries its own expectations.

“I see it as a fun challenge to try and put my own unique spin on it,” Street said.

Parrish, director of six previous QVAA productions, said he knew this show was going to take a lot of talent offstage as well as onstage.

“I needed a strong production team right from the start, so that was my top priority, back in late July,” Parrish said.

Kylie Youngren is the assistant director, with choreography by Megan Stoakes and Riley Youngren as musical director.

“Rod Luce built the sets, Rita Luce and Sue Gregory have gathered all the props, Pat Connelly has taken on the job of stage manager for this difficult play to stage,” Parrish wrote.

Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at the Martin-Morris Agency in Quincy or by calling 509-787-3571.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Michael Banks (Lev Rosberg, center) isn’t sure he’s going to like Mary Poppins (Stephanie Moore). Emma Foley (right) plays Jane Banks. The play is being presented by Quincy Valley Allied Arts.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Michael Banks (Lev Rosberg, right) doesn’t like what Mary Poppins’ (Stephanie Moore) measuring tape has to say in the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Bert (Taylor Street. right) makes friends with Jane Banks (Emma Foley). The Quincy Valley Allied Arts production of “Mary Poppins” opens Feb. 20.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Mrs. Brill (Alison Pheasant), the Banks family cook, is feeling the pressure in the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production of “Mary Poppins.” The family servant (Galen Golay) just tries to stay out of the way.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Bert (Taylor Street, left) and Mary Poppins work their magic for the Banks family in the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production, opening Feb. 20.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Jane Banks (Emma Foley, second from left) and her brother Michael (Lev Rosberg, left) have their own qualifiations for a new nanny in the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production of “Mary Poppins.” Their father George (Paul Slager, second from right) and mother Winifred (right) aren’t convinced.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Mary Poppins (Stephanie Moore, left) and Bert (Taylor Street) enjoy a dance in Hyde Park. The premiere of the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production is Feb. 20.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Bert (Taylor Street, center) tries to help Michael Banks (Lev Rosberg, left) and his sister Jane (Emma Foley, right) find the magic in the painting in the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production of “Mary Poppins.”

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Mary Poppins’ (Stephanie Moore) medicine is so good it can even straighten up a disheveled kitchen. Quincy Valley Allied Arts is presenting the play, which opens this week.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald | Mary Poppins(Stephanie Moore, left) and Bert (Taylor Street) turn Hyde Park into a magical place in the Quincy Valley Allied Arts production of ‘Mary Poppins.”