6th and 7th Grade Students Work Magic with Upcoming Mary Poppins Musical

This week, 6th and 7th grade students will be putting on three highly-anticipated performances of their winter production, Mary Poppins. Family and friends can see these talented actors and crew members in action on Thursday, December 13 at 5:00 p.m. in the Underground Theater in the Middle School. 

To gain insight into the creative process behind the scenes and what students, faculty, families and staff can expect in this production, we spoke with Prep School math teacher Katie Lynn Hamel, who is overseeing the musical alongside Prep School music teacher John Fischer.

Why did you choose Mary Poppins?

When John Fischer and I became a team we came up with a list of some of our favorite age-appropriate musicals. We both knew we wanted something fun and uplifting. We knew it was not only important to choose a musical that displays the various talents of our students, but also one that has a positive message. After some back and forth, we chose Mary Poppins. It has a great message about the importance of valuing family life. There are also a lot of magical moments in the show that remind us to have fun and be silly sometimes. 

What has rehearsal been like? Were there any particular exercises you used to get students in character that you can share with us?

Rehearsals have been a lot of fun and very busy for everyone. The cast is made up of nine students who are playing over twenty different roles, many with various accents! We've done our best to make sure all of those characters are different in some way. The crew of eleven has been working on building the sets, managing over fifty props, and dealing with how to make almost twenty scene changes seem effortless. Everyone has done it all with a smile, lots of silly laughs and support from their friends.  

One of the exercises we enjoyed playing was "World's Greatest," where we stood in a circle and you had to stay in character and express how your character would react in different scenarios -- for instance, what would be part of the world's greatest-ice cream sundae for your character? What would they do on the weekend or for Thanksgiving?

What can you tease about the upcoming production?

As you sit in the audience see if you can figure out all the different roles the students are playing. Even our Mary Poppins plays another role.

What advice do you have for your students as showtime nears?

It's important to remember all the hard work we've put into the last three months. Be sure to take a lot of deep breaths, focus, and believe in yourself! You all are incredibly talented and have truly worked your magic to make this show the amazing product that it is. Know that we are all so proud of you.