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Mary Poppins drops into Civic Theatre

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Performances in September and October

The musical Mary Poppins is live on stage to open the 2015-2016 season at Ocala Civic Theatre from Sept. 3 – Oct. 4.
There’s only one word to describe it: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” When the east wind blows magical and mysterious Mary Poppins (Angie Petty) into London, everyone is in for a jolly holiday. Her old friend, cheerful jack-of-all-trades Bert (Gregg Bleam), introduces us to the Banks family of 17 Cherry Tree Lane... a household in dire need of “the perfect nanny.”
A proper banker to the core, stern and upright George Banks (Brian Watson) has better ideas of how to manage other people’s money than how to manage his own children. Their loving but distracted mother, Winifred Banks (Alana O’Leary), is a former actress struggling to meet her husband’s high expectations. And the naughty Banks children, Jane (Ava Pizzuti) and Michael (Matthew Minassian), are out of control as they try to get their parents’ attention by misbehaving.
The Banks household also includes the grumbling cook Mrs. Brill (Vickie Treulieb), the bumbling houseboy Robertson Ay (Deion Howard), and — until Jane and Michael’s disobedience causes her to quit and storm out — the overwhelmed nanny, Katie Nanna (Amanda Richards). Mary Poppins promptly and mysteriously arrives to fill the position. She is extraordinary and strange, neat and tidy, delightfully vain, a little frightening, but always exciting — and always means what she says.
With Mary Poppins around, “anything can happen if you let it,” as Jane and Michael soon discover. Their enchanting adventures include an outing in the park when the statues come to life and join them for a stroll, a visit to a magic gingerbread shop, an exuberant dance across the rooftops of London with Bert and his chimney-sweep friends, and a journey through the starry heavens.
Mary Poppins also takes the children to visit their father at the bank. On the way, they encounter the ragged Bird Woman (Melody Murphy) who feeds the birds on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, teaching the children a lesson in charity. At the bank, they also meet the Bank Chairman (Steve Gordon) and two businessmen vying for the bank’s financing: Herr Von Hussler (Lee Kerr) and John Northbrook (Jared Evans). Mr. Banks’ decision to take a chance on a risky business venture soon puts his job in jeopardy, and the family is faced with grim prospects.
Worried over his situation, Mr. Banks loses his temper with the children, who in turn lose their temper and take it out on their toys. Mary Poppins allows their toys to teach them a lesson — and then flies away. The children are even sorrier for their bad behavior when Mr. Banks’ old childhood nanny, the terrifying Miss Andrew (Celia Bills), comes to rule the nursery with an iron fist and a horrible medicine of “brimstone and treacle.” But when Mary Poppins returns, a battle royal ensues between the two nannies. Soon after, Mr. Banks goes to the bank to face his fate and fight his own battle as the entire family rediscovers what has true value in life... a lesson taught by Mary Poppins, of course.
Portraying a wide variety of colorful characters, the ensemble includes Melissa Baller, Celia Bills, Daniel Boodoo, Marcus Cote, Sloane Crowder, Jordan Davidsen, Jared Evans, Michelle Geering, Steve Gordon, Deion Howard, Ciara Kelley, Jonathan Leppert, William Lewis, Faith Morales, Reagan Reese, Amanda Richards, Victoria Richards, Camden Ruef, Vickie Treulieb, Ileana Weyrauch, Aubrey Wise, and Don Wolfe.
This sparkling stage adaptation of the beloved 1964 Disney film is full of classic songs like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Step In Time,” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” as well as several charming new numbers. It’s a magical world under Mary Poppins’ umbrella, full of spectacular effects and lively dance numbers. Delightful and dazzling, this family-friendly musical captures hearts and soars among the stars. It’s “practically perfect in every way!”
There will be 26 public performances. Tickets go on sale Aug. 10 at $25 for adults and $12 for full-time students (student ID required for college students). You also may buy full-price tickets online with a service charge at www.ocalacivictheatre.com. For more information, call (352) 236-2274.