Students at Woodlawn Middle School have been working hard in recent weeks in preparation for their performance of the musical “Mary Poppins JR.” at the Eastern Alamance High School auditorium. The performances will be November 21, 22, and 23, with nightly shows at 7:00 p.m.. Admission is $7.00 for adults, and $5.00 for students.
There are 24 students in the play, grades 6 through 8, appearing in “Mary Poppins, JR.” The students and their characters are as follows:
Bert - Jack Small
George Banks - Ray Phillips
Winifred Banks - Cora Munter
Jane Banks - Makenzie Winstead
Michael Banks - Rodrigo Calix
Katie Nana - Ella McGilvray
Mrs. Brill - Jayci White
Robertson Ay - Josh Sichi
Mary Poppins - Mia Huppert
Neleus - Kalee Lee
Bird Woman/Miss Andrew -Genisis Casillas
Chairman - K.J. Strout
Von Hussler - Taylor Eichman
John Northbrook - Chris Solomon
Mrs Corry - Jayden Yarborough
Policeman - TJ McGrath
Messenger: Faith Williams
The Ensemble includes Zakarrah Burnette, Aubrey Dail, Ace McGlothlin, Samantha Hensley, Kristina Hudson, Meika Muterer, and Olivia Vuolo.
Woodlawn Middle’s Elizabeth Zint is producing and directing the show this year. She has been heading up this yearly event for over 20 years, but this will be her last production, as she will be retiring at the end of this year.
“It has been my pleasure to promote young singers and actors and to help them develop the kinds of skills they will need to be productive and successful adults: teamwork, discipline and self confidence,” Zint said. “I also encourage them to never get to old to dream, play and imagine. It has been a wonderful journey.”
Linnea Coon is this years choreographer and has worked with the students to encourage good acting skills and techniques. The parents have worked tirelessly over the last two months to paint and build sets, find or make costumes, and love and support the students’ creative efforts.
“We invite our community to come out and support these very talented and amazing young people,” Zint added.
For Woodlawn Middle eighth grader Jack Small, who is playing the role of Bert that Dick Van Dyke famously played in the movie “Mary Poppins,” the opportunity to take on the challenge of this entertaining and magical musical has been exciting.
“I’ve been doing musical for three years, and I was wondering if we were going to do Mary Poppins,” Small said in a recent interview. “(Musical Director) Ms. (Elizabeth) Zint has these things on the wall with all the musicals she’s done. When I found out we were doing Mary Poppins, I was really happy.”
Small indicated that getting to play such a unique character as Bert, a jack-of-all-trades character who does everything from sell kites to play a one-man band, has helped him with his singing and his on-stage presence.
“I feel like I get a lot of this,” Small said. “It’s a workout to run across the stage, and practice for weeks and months on end. And then performing it - it helps your self-confidence. It also helps your voice grow. Because now you’re moving while you’re singing. Usually when you’re singing, you’re just sitting or standing. It helps your voice grow. It’s a good way to do singing.”
While there are multiple older Woodlawn students such as Small in key roles, it has been encouraging to see the large number of Woodlawn sixth graders who have gotten involved in this year’s presentation.
“Overall, the musical performance has been really, really fun. It’s been great. I like it,” Small said. “It’s great. I’ve met a lot of sixth graders who are really cool. Everyone is great at their roles.”