RHS presents: “Mary Poppins”
It’s going to be a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious occasion when the Russellville High School drama and choir programs open the curtain on their upcoming production.
“Mary Poppins” will take the stage Dec. 8-10 at 6:30 p.m. each night. Students, along with directors Patrice Smith and Emily Rush, are in the full swing of bringing this large-scale musical to Russellville.
Smith said she and Rush knew they wanted to do a musical – and she wanted something with a mature storyline. Over the course of several months, “Mary Poppins” presented itself as the right fit again and again.
“It deals so much with family dynamics and the difficulties that families face every day – money, raising your kids and being a productive member of society,” Smith said. “It’s got some heavy themes.”
Smith said her students totally embraced the show.
“It’s a family show, and these kids are a family,” Smith said. “These kids are not necessarily in the same friend groups all the time, but they come in here and it’s one big family.”
It’s a big show – a challenging show – but Smith said the students have really taken it on.
“We continue to shock ourselves,” Smith said. “These kids just keep bringing it. Every time I think I have come up with something that is too hard for them or too daunting of a task, they rise and surpass every thought that I would have for them.” She said its humbling to see the students’ accomplishments and their phenomenal work ethic. “It’s very inspiring … I get to come in here every single day and be shocked and inspired.”
Forty-two performers, four technical students and the two directors will bring the treasured story to life.
“The show is good because everybody has their own part, and it’s really good at showing the talents of everyone,” said Elizabeth Pierce, who plays title character Mary Poppins.
Konner Bendall, who plays George Banks, added, “The story tells how George changes with the help of Mary Poppins and Bert, and the children change for the better. The moral of the story is very good.”
Patrick Crummie, who plays Bert, said he thinks the audience will really enjoy the musical numbers. “If you’ve seen the movie, you know how good the music is,” Crummie said. “The tunes are really fun to sing along to, and almost everybody knows them.”
“I like the adrenaline rush backstage,” Khem West, who plays Admiral Boom, added. “I think the crowd is going to have an adrenaline rush, too.”
Smith said “Mary Poppins” is the biggest musical to be undertaken by the RHS’ high school choral and drama and students since 1999 – when she herself was a freshman and shared the lead role in “Bye Bye Birdie.” Drama has been a program at the middle school level, but not high school, for quite some time, and students expressed their joy for expanded opportunities to return to the stage.
“It’s my freshman year, so I wasn’t expecting to have this aspect of theatre back,” Pierce said. “I’m so glad it’s back because it’s something I enjoy doing very much. It’s something I’ve actually thought about doing with my life. Performing is just something that makes me happy.”
Crummie, too, expressed interest in drama as a profession.
“I had to go three years without this, and I finally got it again … so it’s great for me to have this back,” he said.
“It’s just something good you hold onto,” West added.
“I think this is a really special class to all of us because it brings us all together,” said Norma Manzanarez, who is part of the tech crew and is instrumental in cuing up the music at the right time. “In other classes, we don’t really get to share what we feel, but in this class, it brings us together, and we feel safe in here.”
“I’ve made my best friends in this class,” Pierce agreed.
Tickets for “Mary Poppins” are $8 for adults and $5 for kindergarten through 12th grade students. Children younger than kindergarten can enjoy free admission.
Cast and Crew
Bert – Patrick Crummie
George Banks – Konner Bendall
Winifred Banks – Addie Scruggs
Jane Banks – Ashton Shipley
Michael Banks – Daniel Balding
Katie Nana – Alondra Delgado
Policeman – Ethan Howard
Miss Lark – Odalys Gerardo-Rendon
Admiral Boom – Khem West
Mrs. Brill – Maggie Willingham
Robertson Ay – McKinley Copeland
Mary Poppins – Elizabeth Pierce
Park Keeper – Christian Aguirre
Athena – Alivia Clemmons
Aphrodite – Brook Crittenden
Asteria – Ellie Akers
Bank Chairman – Austin Balding
Miss Smythe – Katherine Peacock
Von Hussler – Brantson Lambert
Northbrook – Jacob Davis
Bird Woman – Leah Nix / Anna Beth Mitchell
Mrs. Corry – Madyson King
Fannie – Macey Vandiver
Annie – Abby Montgomery
Valentine – Katie Putman
Jack in the Box – Keren Montiel
Ragedy Ann – Jessica Morrow
Ballerina – Haylee Hamilton
Miss Andrew – Kaitlin Weeks
Ensemble – Monica Acosta, Wesley Cook, Haley Hasha, Matevious Hollingsworth, Xavier Hollingsworth, Elizabeth Jenkins, Anna Beth Mitchell, Leah Nix, Theran Pounders, Amara Qualls
Tech – Norma Manzanarez, Daniel Pace, Jamaal Hubbard, Easton Peacock