Something Before SUPERCAL By Barbara Biddison
What a happy time I had sitting in on the last rehearsal of MARY POPPINS in the Grand Community Room of the Deane Center! The next day they would move rehearsals to Mansfield where the show would open on Straughn stage a week later. But for this Thursday night these 30 or 40-some actors were in high spirits, running some parts once and others several times, over and over. Natalie Holsey, the music director, kept the attention of this large group and Taylor Nickerson the dance director drilled the actors, ranging in age from pre-teen to way-older adults, in their routines. And Thomas, the producer/ director, sat in the front in his wheelchair nodding approval and offering the occasional word of clarification. It was a beautiful picture of cooperative work in rehearsal. Joyful rehearsal.
Beginning with the question, "What do you think we need to work on most?" Answers were something like "Vocal stuff" and "Dance," which as far as I could tell would be just about everything, or at least certain parts of just about everything. And then I realized that two leads, Sarah Duterte as Mary Poppins herself, and Alex Dell as Bert, had been in Grand Horizons just about a year ago playing quite different roles. It was really quite fine to see the range of their talents. And they aren't the only ones that audience members will remember from other HG shows (Cody Losinger comes to mind especially because he's doing cartwheels in this show).
Some of the comments I could overhear because I sat close to the performance space. Dance coach prefaces one of the dance routines as "Easy peasy" but it didn't look easy anything to me. "I'm joining the Russian Ballet after this," says one slightly awkward dancer. "Movements too superficial" about drill with vocal coach and dance movement all together. About a new dance routine: "Now you did it slow! Now you can do it fast!" And all this is said and received in good spirit and attempts to do what is requested. No divas here.
I'm going Opening Night, Thursday, July 13. It runs only 1 long weekend with Sunday matinee.
Don't miss this show!!
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