Encinitas – The San Dieguito High School Academy musical theater class is rehearsing and working behind the scenes to bring Mary Poppins to the stage in late May and early June.
The familiar story of Marry Poppins is set in London in 1910. The Banks family is looking for a strict nanny. Cheerful Mary Poppins appears to take care of the Banks children Jane and Michael. Merriment and adventure follow, and at one point Mr. Banks’ job is on the line.
The theater class putting on the production is comprised of 41 actors, and 20 theater technicians.
Most of the student actors have polished acting, singing and dancing skills the musical demands. Stephanie Siers, theater teacher and performance director, said student actors also bring fearlessness to the stage and are willing to try new things.
“The majority of students have been in previous productions and other community theater,” Siers said. “They learn a good deal in class as well.”
To aid students a guest choreographer and vocal coach help with the production a couple of days a week as needed.
Casting and rehearsals began in February.
High school senior Samantha Steinberg plays the lead role of Mary Poppins, and brings skills and stamina to the stage.
“She is a strong singer, strong actor, and has chemistry with Mr. Banks,
Winifred and the children,” Siers said. “She has the most songs in the show, and stamina to be on stage a good portion of the show.”
In other lead roles junior Andrew Kenney plays the friendly street artist Bert, junior Delaney Ryan plays the mother Winfred Banks, and junior Rachel Dovsky plays daughter Jane Banks.
Roles stretch performers beyond their own experiences.
Sophomore Shea Galaudet plays brother Michael Banks. Siers said a girl was cast for the male role because of high notes that need to be hit in songs.
“Females have the vocal range,” Siers said.
Freshman Dashiell Gregory plays father George Banks and brings acting versatility to the role.
“He (Mr. Banks) goes through the largest transition throughout the performance,” Siers said.
The class meets for one semester, but many students repeat the class and perform together for three or four years.
“We have a great theater program,” Siers said. “It’s attractive to students who are looking for that.”
At this point in the production actors are blocking out the 15-page script. Next week they will be running through acts after school.
“They’re right where they should be,” Margot Leach, student director, said. “They’re putting the final touches on all their characters.”
Theater technician students are hard at work on stage management, lighting, sound design, props, costumes and public relations.
The two sides of the production come together in final rehearsals a week before the performance opens.
Siers said things really come together during technical week when set pieces, orchestra sound cues, and actors align.
“Sometimes it takes students getting into custom and makeup to put all the pieces together.”
Performances will be held at 7 p.m. May 28, 29, 30 and June 4, 5, 6., and a 2 p.m. matinee May 30, at the school’s Clayton E. Liggett Theater.