Bethany Wood As Mary Poppins

The Broadway Musical Performance at GACS

Cienna Townsend, Staff Writer

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Bethany Wood acts as Mary Poppins during the GACS musical.

Bethany Wood sat outside the choir room waiting with her two friends, Lauren Brown and Caroline Wigmore. They spent an hour outside of the choir room warming up their voices and perfecting their British accents, which were required for the musical. Eventually, Bethany walked into the choir room to perform “Practically Perfect” and read several lines in her British accent.

Greater Atlanta Christian School’s production of Mary Poppins showcased the multitude of talents that the students have to offer. The cast of Mary Poppins performed January 28, 29, and 30 at 7:30 p.m. The final show was held on January 31 at 2 p.m. The large cast of 63 students worked for less than a month to perfect their performance.

The musical follows Mary Poppins, a nanny hired to control the two rowdy Banks children, and her quest to bring the Banks family closer to each other. George and Winnifred Banks struggle to control their children, Michael and Jane. The Banks needed the help of Mary Poppins to bring structure and fun back into their lives.

The cast was expected to learn several songs, choreography, and build sets in preparation for opening night on Thursday. They built six large sets in total, including a two-level display equipped with a staircase to portray the Banks’ house.

Auditions for the musical were open to all senior high students, which gave students that do not take a drama class a chance to showcase their talents. Girls were expected to sing a part of “Practically Perfect” from Act 1. They also read lines for various roles while boys sang part of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” “You pretty much have to make sure they can sing the role and then you have to feel that they can develop the character as far as their talent is concerned,” said director, Clif Jones. Auditions commenced before the end of the first semester, but the cast began rehearsals in January.

Junior Alexandra Hord both acted in the musical and choreographed some of the musical numbers, including “Step in Time” and “Spoonful of Sugar”. “It was not hard balancing my performance with choreographing because basically the numbers I was in I had choreographed them so just like everything else, when you teach something you learn it better,” said Hord.

Junior Emily Buechler supervised the various makeup looks that the show demanded with the help of her own assistant. “I planned out all the makeup looks and got to delegate them to a girl who helped me. It’s fun because I’m doing what I love,” said Buechler.

The show featured seniors Bethany Wood as Mary Poppins and Connor Tarpley as Bert. Both Wood and Tarpley aspired to play the roles of Mary Poppins and Bert long before auditions. “I sat down right where I was in the hallway and just cried because I felt so relieved and honored that I would get to play Mary,” said Wood.

The Senior High dance class was asked to participate in the musical. For most of the girls, it was their first time doing anything with drama. “We were having the time of our lives on opening night. It was out of our element but we loved it,” said Isabel Stecher, 11.

Fifth graders Ella Ostapiuk and Joseph Connel played Jane and Michael Banks in the musical. “They really did an excellent job…they really worked well with the older kids and the older kids really helped them, encouraged them, and helped them develop their character.” Ella and Joseph came into rehearsals with their lines already memorized.

After Bethany Wood’s debut performance as Mary Poppins, she made her way to the lobby of the Sara D. Williams Fine Arts Center. A woman approached Bethany and explained that her daughter was very shy, but that she would love to meet Mary Poppins. Bethany knelt down to the girl’s level and spoke to her as Mary Poppins. “That’s the most grateful I have felt so far for the opportunity to play Mary because I was able to make that little girl’s day, and she truly believed I was Mary,” said Wood.

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