Reaching for the Stars

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - By: Hannah R, Mackenzie ‘18; Photo by Mike Minckler

“If you reach for the stars, all you get are the stars” but the musical cast has found a whole new spin.  “If you reach for the heavens, you get the stars thrown in.” 

As announced by directors Mrs. Widenmaier, Ms. Blake, and Mr. Newns earlier in the school year, the musical theatre version of Mary Poppins will grace our stage at the beginning of March. 

In this touching tale of love, Mary Poppins (Holly CH, Mackenzie ’17) the sixth nanny in four months in the Banks’ household, arrives in response to an advertisement by young, unruly Jane (Hannah S, Alex ’18) and Michael (Emma M, Hope ’19) Banks. Through Mary and Bert’s (Andrew W, Whittall ’17) magical world, the Banks children and, ultimately, their father (Liam S, Rogers ’17/Kyle VW, Rogers ’17) as well, learn the importance of family. 

As the show includes many large ensemble numbers, rehearsal time is gold.  Principles practice on sports afternoons and the whole cast is often called on Sundays in second term to make headway on those numbers which require more time than the single hour allotted on arts afternoons.  

Perhaps more valuable than even rehearsal time is the rare opportunity which presented itself to the cast last Friday in the form of Mr. Milo Shandel, an Old Brentonian who recently finished a successful run as Mr. Banks at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver (in addition to the many other performing arts credits to his name). Mr. Shandel gave a workshop to the entire cast, and then another more focussed session for the principles, which “helped us gain a new perspective on our characters and on our interactions with the Banks family” observed Katherine B, Hope ’17 who plays Mrs. Banks. 

Many of the principle characters this year are in grade 12, and Holly CH, Mackenzie ’17, sums up the feeling that these dedicated grads experience upon the realization that their Brentwood musical theatre career is nearing its end: “Mary Poppins is a wonderful show for our last year at Brentwood because Mary sings of a ‘sense of bittersweet’ in the moment ‘when you know the task is done’ as she says goodbye to the kids and flies away (literally) at the end of the show.  Through these words, this year's grads have a chance to say goodbye to the Brentwood theatre.”  

With only six weeks until the show will run, it’s time for the entire team to buckle down and put in the effort and hours to reach for the heavens – I know we’ll get the stars thrown in. 

Hannah R, Mackenzie ‘18

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