‘Mary Poppins Jr.’ blows into Breckenridge this weekend
A cast of more than 50 local youths will bring to life a tuneful family favorite this weekend as part of Breckenridge Backstage Theatre’s musical theater program for children.
The troop will be presenting “Mary Poppins Jr.,” based on the stories of P. L. Travers and the beloved Walt Disney film this Friday through Sunday at the Riverwalk Center.
According to a news release, the updated play tells the story of a magical nanny and a carefree chimney sweep who prove to misbehaving children and their uptight parents that it’s the little things that keep a family together.
The song-filled show features all-time hits like “Jolly Holiday,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Step In Time.”
But why this specific play?
“Who doesn’t love Mary Poppins?” artistic director and director of the show Christopher Willard asked.
“This is a fresh title, recently made available for performance, and it also happens to be a perfect vehicle for multiple ages, with some great roles for girls. It really checked off all the boxes for the type of show we like to present in this slot.”
Started in 2014, Backstage Theatre’s Student Theatrical Enrichment Program — more commonly know as STEP — offers children ages 18 and under the opportunity to perform in a high-quality musical in a large performance venue.
Through the program, students audition and receive instruction from theater professionals in singing, acting, dancing and more as they prepare to mount a full-scale production in the beautiful Riverwalk Center.
“The show has a big cast and that provides its own amazing energy onstage,” Willard explained. “The musical numbers are very catchy and very active, so that will be thrilling. Plus, we have a theatrical concept for the show, which will present the story in a different way than past Student Theatrical productions. This year, we are tapping into the imagination of the audience to help reveal the story.”
Past STEP productions included “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King.”
However, STEP has expanded its program this year to include double-casting for its lead roles with 10 performers sharing six different parts.
“This enabled more students a chance to step forward and assume key roles,” Willard said. “For instance, one of the actresses playing Mary Poppins is a freshman, making her STEP debut with this show. That’s pretty special.”
The theme of the show is “the enormous power that simple, kind gestures can deliver rather than financial reward,” said Willard. “We may lose sight of what’s important for our families, but kindness and charity are the way to rediscover happiness and fulfillment in our families and our lives.”
All tickets $15 general admission and can be found online at BackstageTheatre.org, at the Breckenridge Welcome Center, or (970) 547-3100. Run time is about 70 minutes.
“Mary Poppins Jr.” will have four show times, including at 7 p.m. Friday, at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday.
One addition to this year’s performance will be an opportunity for children to meet Mary and Bert from the show before the two matinees.
Doors open for this special meet ‘n’ greet at 1 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. This is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Backstage Theatre, and it will cost $10 in addition to a ticket for the show.
The show is being directed by Willard while Lenore Giardina serves as the music director. Choreography is handled by Abbey Austin, with assistance from Meagan Flannagan.
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