Heatherwood's Mary Poppins ready to float onto the stage at Jackson High

Ambitious production will feature elaborate production of heartwarming classic tale
By Dan Aznoff | Mar 15, 2019
Photo by: Dan Aznoff A gregarious Dash Beatty provides his lap for his co-star Sophie Erb during a rehearsal for the upcoming production of Mary Poppins by students from Heatherwood Middle School. Opening night for the ambitious undertaking will be Friday, March 22. Five performances have been scheduled over the last two weekends of the month in the theatre at Jackson High School. The curtain goes up on Opening Night and the following Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. Matinees on Saturday, March 23 and March 30 are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

The performers will be ready and the parents will be nervous when the curtain goes up on the Heatherwood Middle School production of Mary Poppins on Friday night, March 22.

“Yes, I’ve seen the film with Dick van Dyke as Burt the chimney sweep,” said a confident 14-year-old Dash Beatty. “But I really want to make the role my own. I want to add a special flair and my own walk that reflects who I am as an actor.”

Beatty will share top billing in the middle school production with Sophie Erb, who will play the title role with a smile and a nod that will set her apart from the screen version of Mary Poppins made famous by Julie Andrews.

Dozens of performers from the choir at Heatherwood have been practicing their songs and dance steps for weeks in anticipation of opening night in the theater at Jackson High School next Friday, March 22, at 7 p.m.

Four other performances have been scheduled over the last two weekends of the month.

Showtimes on Thursday and Friday nights are scheduled for 7 p.m., with matinees on both Saturdays beginning at 2 p.m.

“Last year we were forced to turn people away because we were sold out,” said Joy Lobb, the director of “Mary Poppins” who was also involved in the successful run of “The Little Mermaid” last year.

The director was quick to point out that the show could not go on without the participation from dedicated parents who are veterans of either performing on stage or working behind the scenes.

Lobb was assisted this year by Shoshauna Mohlman in the “thankless” job of assistant director; Chari Bennett as musical director; and JoAnne Buiteweg as the technical director.

Unlike the motion picture, Mary will not float into scenes with her umbrella. Lobb said that level of technical expertise is not available at the high school. But she did not miss the opportunity to urge the Mill Creek City Council to go ahead with plans to build a performance center.

“Then you’ll be able to see Mary fly and a lot more theatrical magic,” she said with a smile.

All the preparation for Mary Poppins has been done after school, Lobb said, because Heatherwood does not currently have a drama department. She did say the production has been enhanced with full cooperation from the middle school’s band and choir.

Lobb admitted the parent group has taken on challenging productions, including the school’s production of “Shrek” two years ago.

“Its something we enjoy from both a professional standpoint and as parents,” Lobb told The Beacon. “And the kids love doing shows they are familiar with.”

She insisted the junior production of Mary Poppins was scheduled for this spring without knowing when the new version of the motion picture was scheduled for release.

“This show will be magic,” Lobb concluded. “Some magic from Mary Poppins with some enchanted performances by a truly remarkable group of young actors.”

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