Theater review: Theater Arts Guild delivers in 'Mary Poppins Jr.'

 

March 13, 2024



TAG did it again!

Skagit County’s own Theater Arts Guild musical production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” is full of happy and talented kids on stage and in the audience. It was uplifting, rambunctious and joyful last Saturday night. All 40 performers and crew were 18 years old or under. What a tribute to TAG for creating great opportunities for young talent.

We are first invited into the dysfunctional Banks family home in 1910 London by Bert, a jack-of-all-trades, played by 15-year-old Helaina Madden.

Helaina’s first local performance at age 8 was also “Mary Poppins.” Then it was on to “The Sound of Music” with Skagit Valley College and “The Wizard of Oz” and “Frozen Jr.” with TAG.

Lily Biancone performed and sang the role of Mary Poppins in a clear, sweet voice. She isn’t new to TAG either, having performed in “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as other Skagit Valley College productions.

Michael and Jane, the Banks’ children, were delightfully performed by Violet Rowley and Chloe Shepard.

Violet loved performing in “The Wizard of Oz,” where she “had so much fun, she decided to continue on to “Mary Poppins Jr.”

This was 10-year-old Chloe’s first lead role as young Jane, after performing in “Suessical.”

With a workaholic father and a pre-occupied mother, young Jane and Michael suffer one nanny after another who sees these children as spoiled brats. In flies the whimsical Mary Poppins, bringing common sense, discipline and magic to two needy children. As she sings, she is “Practically Perfect.” She is somewhat magical too as the children learn through the many adventures they go on from dancing statues to chimney sweeps singnig on rooftops above London’s din.

Many of the songs you can sing along to – can you spell “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?”

By the end, Mary transforms the children, including getting them to take their medicine with a “Spoon Full of Sugar,” and eventually their parents, until they all develop into a more wholesome family.

When Dad George Banks (Cynthia Allen) realizes his family is more important than work, he takes them kite flying. So begins a rousing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” sung by the full cast.

This musical, being a musical, is all about singing a story, but there are a couple dance numbers and one who stood out – featured dancer Mariza Montana. New to the valley, her most recent role was as a featured dancer on a German Apple TV series. Mariza has a background in ballet and gymnastics.

Applause to the directors Leisha Skinner and Kim Turner and producers Keri McCrea, Tori Steiner and Stacey Youngquist.

Several roles are shared by more than one actor. Their performance dates are listed on the Lincoln Theatre website.

Cast members can change without notice.

“Mary Poppins Jr.” is a musical based on P.L. Travers’ stories and the Walt Disney film.

 

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