Mary Poppins brings all the magic to DGN theater


Brooke Kowalski

BUSTING A MOVE: The cast of Mary Poppins practices their larger group routines.

Molly St. Clair, Feature Editor

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the word of the year in the DGN theater department, with Mary Poppins rehearsals having officially kicked into full gear. Those involved are working to ensure that the show has all the fun inner workings of the original Broadway performances.  

Mary Poppins first ran on Broadway in 2006 and had over two thousand performances. With that said, for head of the theater department Demitrios Pappageorge, the decision to choose this show for DGN was easy. 

Mary Poppins is a perfect show for this particular audience and at this particular time because it is a reminder of the importance of love, understanding, respect, and family,” Pappageorge said. 

The show also aligned with many of the strengths of the theater department’s current student pool–which is something Pappageorge takes into consideration when picking out a musical each year. 

Senior Harley Blanchard will tackle the role of Mary this year. Blanchard is excited for the variety the character of Mary has throughout the show and how she will be able to showcase her own talents through the character. 

“I love how much of everything Mary does.”  Blanchard said.  “She gets to dabble in everything. When playing her I [not only] get to act and sing, but I also get to dance. Because I have grown up dancing, I am super excited to learn all of the dances.”

In the movie and on stage versions of Mary Poppins, there is always some sort of whimsical magic element incorporated into the performance. Whether Mary is pulling endless objects out of her bag or flying down from the sky with an umbrella, the show typically contains many special effects. From a crew and backstage standpoint, there is much work to be done leading up to the final performances. 

Senior and assistant technical director Raymond Zaloudek helps manage many of these projects the crew works on. 

“Over break, one of the things I started working on was the design for how to get Mary Poppins to slide up the stairs. It will be really interesting to see how it works out,” Zaloudek said. 

SETTING THE SCENE: Crew members begin to create set aspects of the show.

In order to accomplish stunts like Mary flying over the set, the theater crew will recruit professionals to ensure safety at all times. Auditory and technical director for Mary Poppins, Ariel Mozes, anticipates working closely with the crew and professionals to get the special effects to exceed everyone’s expectations. 

“There are really only three companies in the United States that specialize in flying people and we will be hiring one of them to fly our Mary. They’re going to teach and help us on the installation but once they train us, it’s all on us for our performances,” Mozes said. 

Even through all of the rigging and stunting required, the show will still remain student-run when it comes to the final performances. 

After 20 years of leading students in the Theater department, Mary Poppins will be Pappageorge’s last musical with his retirement set for the end of this school year.

“In my time in theater at North, the one thing I have noticed is that Mr. Pappageorge is incredibly good at what he does. He keeps the rehearsals on time, so everything always gets done,” Zaloudeck said. 

Fine arts department chair Brayer Teague has worked with Pappageorge since he first joined the staff in 2002. 

“Most people do not know how much time he spends managing the logistics and details of the program, largely on his own time at home. He’s been an outstanding mentor for dozens and dozens of students who have decided to pursue their passion for theater in college, once they leave DGN,” Teague said.

Mary Poppins will make its DGN debut March 10-12. Pappageorge hopes to provide the community with a quality show as his last production as a director for the DGN theater program. 

“My biggest hope is to bring families (young & old) back to the theater for live performances. There is a lot of fun and magic in Mary Poppins, both [in] the show and the character. I am really hoping we can entice folks back into a communal space to share a wonderful experience.”