The film Mary Poppins may have first charmed audiences more than 50 years ago, but this spring, a group of area actors is getting ready to entertain local audiences young and old with a fresh spin on the classic production.
The St. Louise Players, the parish-based theater group at St. Louise de Marillac Parish in LaGrange Park, has been working since fall to bring the beloved show to the stage with the talents of actors, set designers and production assistants from the parish and neighboring communities.
“The stage play, in my opinion, is just so much better than the movie,” said choreographer and Brookfield resident Julie Kucko, who has been involved with the Players for years. “You have more characters, you have some of the same standard songs and also some new ones.”
Fellow Brookfield resident and director Barb Molina said the Players are happy to bring the lively performance to audiences looking for good old fashioned entertainment.
“Everybody loves tap dancing, and Julie has done an amazing job choreographing and teaching people who had never tap danced before,” Molina said. “‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ is a show stopper and the audience will be blown away,” she added. “And, we’ve added a few little extra things, too, to make it our own and make it special.”
For their production, the Players are doing the Broadway choreography as opposed to the choreography from the 1964 Disney film. Additionally, the Players, who do a production once a year, pride themselves on bringing big-name shows to the small-town stage on tight budgets and stretched resources.
“We do a very good job with limited resources [and] a smaller stage than most community theaters, but we really use ingenuity and creativity and just a lot of devoted, talented volunteers that make the magic happen,” Molina said.
For this show, Molina said the group had to get creative in creating special effects, like Mary Poppins pulling a coat rack out of a carpetbag.
“Ours is no church basement show,” Kucko added. “Barb and I have worked hard with our committee and our cast and crew and we’ve raised the bar every year higher and higher.”
Mary Poppins will be performed at the St. Louise de Marillac Parish Center, 1125 Harrison Ave., from March 24-26 and March 31-April 2. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7 p.m. and Sunday shows begin at 2 p.m.
Admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and $7 for children 12 and under. For tickets and information, visit www.SLMparish.org.