‘Mary Poppins’ flies again on NDHS stage

MD-mary poppins cast-030415

The Dorchester Banner/Susan Bautz
Cast members of North Dorchester High School’s 2015 Senior Play prepare for dress rehearsal of “Mary Poppins.” Directors Adam Wilson (far left) and Michael Pagliaro (far right) joined music director Sabra Steward (5th from left) for a final run-through of the production, in costume of course.

 

Everything is ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ with the senior class play

HURLOCK — There is something exciting about a dark, empty theatre. But when energized high school actors fill the stage to prepare for a final dress rehearsal it is more than exciting – it is electric. The Banner was allowed to attend a dress rehearsal for the North Dorchester High School (NDHS) 2015 Senior Play, “Mary Poppins.” Dress rehearsals are a form of organized chaos. Somehow everything comes together when the lights dim, the audience hushes, and the curtains open. Then the magic happens.

The school’s faculty is deeply involved in the annual production. This year the faculty includes Adam Wilson, English and Theatre teacher and overall/technical director; Michael Pagliaro, English teacher/theatrical director; music teacher/music director Sabra Steward; and art teacher Jennifer Kolendowicz who designed the sets. About 50 students are involved as cast or crew.

Asked why this play was chosen, Mr. Wilson said, “We ordered ‘perusals’ for four plays and after looking at our senior class and looking at all of those plays, we decided that the cast of Mary Poppins fit the class of 2015 the best.”

There is a large role for theater in the lives of these seniors. Director Wilson explained, “We’ve got a few seniors who are very big in the theater; a few who are attending art schools and most of our leads are into theater. With this school, in my experience, the students really ‘get into theater’ for the senior play. It’s a big deal for the students and for a small school, and the kids really do a great job participating. We have all grades – freshmen through 12th grade. We cast with seniors as much as we can and our leads are almost always all seniors. We fill in with other classes.” Director Wilson attended NDHS and is a Salisbury University graduate.

Michael Pagliaro graduated from Montgomery County public schools and St. Mary’s College. Into his second year of teaching, he participated in theatre in high school. “We’ve had some very, very determined stage crews. It’s the first year the school has ever used an all-student stage crew. Some people were nervous about that. We’ve used parent volunteers in past years, but I thought they could do it and they’ve done an excellent job. The tech(nical) crews are all students.” Despite being “bombarded with snow” and having “fewer rehearsals than we needed,” Mr. Pagliaro was impressed with the teens’ dedication.

Mr. Wilson noted the group has been practicing since Jan. 3. “We’ve missed 11 rehearsals. It’s been a mad scramble here at the end to get everything in since we haven’t really had our snow days until very recently.” He noted one of several outstanding students was freshman Hanna McCollister, who “has learned every one of our choreographed dances despite not necessarily being cast in any of them. She learned them to help other people learn them.”

Mr. Pagliaro complimented sophomore Georgia Fried, “who has touched every part of this production. She has painted, built, and sewn. There isn’t a costume or set piece that she hasn’t touched.”

Music director Ms. Steward teaches the songs and ensures the pre-recorded music is played correctly. She said, “In the past when we’ve had a ‘pit band,’ it was too loud in here because there is no pit to cover the sound. This works better because it is adjustable. No matter how much the microphones are turned up, a band would overpower them. And it gives a lot of variation to the show with different sounds; a whole orchestra is playing.”

The senior play traditionally draws a large crowd and is noted for the quality of its productions. This year should be no exception. Performances are slated for: 7 p.m. March 5, 6, and 7; and two matinées, 1 p.m., March 7 and 2 p.m., March 8.

CAST: Bert, John Allebach/Doug Ramey; George Banks, Jon Spencer; Winifred Banks, Haleigh Sinclair; Jane Banks, Gabrielle Furr/Natalie Shenton; Michael Banks, Beth Thomas/Mandy Smorgens; Katie Nanna, Destiny Brown; Policeman, Hannah McCollister; Miss Lark, Rebecca Faulkner; Admiral Boom, Josh Thomas; Mrs. Brill, Amanda Goslee; Robertson Ay, Christian Murphy; Mary Poppins, Paige Thomas/Patience Loscomb; Park Keeper, Meredith Bell; Neleus, Kayla Allen; Queen Victoria, Carly Ewing; Bank Chairman, Joshua Brown; Miss Smythe, Cary Ewing; Von Hussler, Nick Lednum; Northbrook, Brett Stiles; Bird Woman, Katie Hurley; Mrs. Corry, Olivia Davidson; Fannie, Jordan Hubbard; Annie, Abbey Hubbard; Valentine, Erica Willing; Teddy Bear, Katie Sinclair; Mr. Punch, Alyssa Swann; Doll, Victoria Price; Miss Andrew, Alexis Cameron; Ensemble – Tori Henry, Kirsten Shipley, Raeann Bialk, Mackenzie Muir, Destiny Brown, Stephanie Ruths, Rebecca Faulkner, Khalifa Warren, Destiny Coleman, Ariel Wright, Jessica Ramey.

CREW: Stage Crew, Rachel Ewing, Al Flaggs, Carly Ewing, Katie Hurley, Regan Hall, Andrew Jackson, Nick Shmick; Sound, Tyler Rothe; Lights, Brandon Swain, Georgia Fried.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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