“We could potentially sell out our fifth consecutive musical.”
These words by Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy (MAFAA) Theatre Director Jason Carr speak volumes of the popularity of their latest — and previous — shows.
With only about 10 tickets left for four shows, “Mary Poppins” seems guaranteed to be yet another wildly successful performance by the MAFAA.
“We have sold out of all of the musicals we have put on,” said Carr, “and this one is selling even a little faster than any of those.”
“Mary Poppins” opens Thursday on the Mineral Area College Fine Arts Theater stage with about 60 cast members.
Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Music lovers will want to see the amazing cast and crew as they take the audience on a magical journey. Everyone’s beloved characters will be there, from flying a kite to strolling through the park to feeding the birds and sweeping the chimneys. The characters will remind the audience of why Cherry Tree Lane is one of the best places to be.
This musical brings performers of all ages together.
Carr said he’s been particularly amazed with the number of people in the cast who have so many talents.
“Not only are they singing, acting and dancing, but there are folks building props, making paintings, building scenery, sewing costumes, teaching dances, etc.,” he said. “I’m always impressed by just how artistic people can be.”
As with previous productions of this size, it’s been a challenge to keep everyone healthy. There have been many colds, flu and strep throat cases for the cast. Carr has frequently reminded the cast to rest, stay hydrated and take vitamins. Even with taking precautions, cast members have missed many rehearsals.
“And any time you do a production that involves flying and magic, you’re going to be faced with challenges,” said Carr.
Beyond all of the challenges, he said, this show is a timeless classic.
“People tend to enjoy the things they are familiar with, and they love to see characters being recreated,” said Carr. “This show is chock-full of songs that everyone will know, and the music definitely gets stuck in your head.”
The set will make the audience feel right at home with the Banks family. But building it has certainly been a difficult task because there are so many pieces which must be moved on and off for scene changes. There is also limited backstage space.
“I think things are going to look very nice, but orchestrating where everything goes and where to bring it on and off has been a challenge,” he said. “One big advantage to doing large-cast shows like this is that we have a built-in running crew.”
And the cast and crew are the best part of the show.
“The best part of the show is the people, the families,” said Carr. “There are so many families that make such amazing contributions, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
He said parents have even set up a hospitality room to keep younger performers entertained during the show. While they aren’t on stage, they busy themselves with things like coloring and playing games.
“It is an incredibly important part of these big-cast shows and makes it more enjoyable for everyone involved,” said Carr.
The “Mary Poppins” cast includes Regan Means as Bert; Michael Cantrell as George Banks; Sarah Stacy as Winifred Banks; Claire Francis and Eloise Burd as Jane; Sawyer Kay as Michael; Alison Burd as Katie Nanna; Ashton Dane as Policeman; Sarah Politte as Miss Lark; Brian Womble as Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman; Liz Konzelmann as Mrs. Brill; Jackson Follis and Zabien Gusman as Robertson Ay; Rachel St. Pierre as Mary Poppins; Sondra Kekec as Miss Andrew; Andrew Russell as Park Keeper; Josh Obenhaus as Neleus; Destiny Matysik as Queen Victoria; Ellie Womble and Rebecka Jakoubek as Miss Smythe; Alyssa Sample as Annie; Ryley Heady as Fannie; Jackson Follis and Zabien Gusman as Von Hussler; Joseph Browers as John Northbrook; Lyn Ruess as Bird Woman; London Miscisin as Mrs. Corry; Sam Konzelmann as Poseidon; Rose Churchill, Kama Wolk, Hannah Politte, Kian Garrity, Payton Miller, Anderson Burd, Trenton Kelley, Jersey Hagerty, Viviani Welker, Jennifer Stokes, Destiny Matysik and Andrew Russell as Chimney Sweeps; and Khloe Davis, Selah Martin, Mia Ridlon, Abby Reid, Olivia Merseal, Emma Jean Stacy, Toly McFarland, Rebecka Jakoubek. Tobias Lee, Henry Konzelmann. Sam Konzelmann, Alex Eaton, Faith Willis, Kenzie Barnett, Micah Crane, Aliza Reid, Charity Lee, Reese Stokes, Kingston Jones, Everly Burd, Zane Konsermann, Kate Johnson, Asa Martin, Lilly Jakoubek, Taya Watts, Sawyer Jones, Cadence Elders, Nekoda Miscisin, Ella Kekec, Caylee Parshall, Penelope Cureton, Zola Konsermann, Zaydee Konzermann and Jaylen Forney as Toys, Park Goers and ensemble.
Crew members include Jason Carr, director; Ashlyn Webb and Annette Gratton, stage managers; Sherry Francis, vocal director; Janna Hagerty, Macey Vandiver, London Miscisin and Jody Miscisin, choreographers; Josh Politte, soundboard operator; Jason Carr and Josh Politte, light design; Annette Gratton, lightboard operation; MaKinna Wilkinson, follow spot operator; Jason Carr and Rachel St. Pierre, set design; Jason Carr, master carpenter; Jason Carr, Darrell Cureton, Ben Reid, Pat Kahn, Zabien Gusman, Ashlyn Webb, Josh Obenhaus, Michael Cantrell, Ellie Womble, Landon Kieckbusch and Brandon Wolk, set construction; backstage crew, cast of “Mary Poppins”; Lyn Reuss, Rachel St. Pierre, Reagan Means, Josh Obenhaus, Annette Gratton, Rebecka Jakoubek, Debra Browers-Wadlow, April Reid and Regan Means, set painting and artwork; Jennifer Stokes, costume mistress; Angela Garrity, Kylie Womble, Jody Miscisin, Regan Means, Ellie Womble, Cassondra Smothers, Josh Oberhaus, Beth Francis, Rachel St. Pierre, costumes; Angela Garrity, child coordinator/wrangler; Aliza Reid, Caylee Parshall, child wrangler’s assistants; and Pat Kahn, flight system design.
Pam Clifton is a contributing writer whose work is often seen in Missouri Life magazine.