Over 75 Red Wing High School students in the cast, crew and pit orchestra delivered an absolutely charming production of "Mary Poppins" at Thursday's opening night performance.
Set and costume designs transformed the Sheldon Theatre stage into 1910 London with a bright family home, parks, courtyards and rooftops. The plot follows the plight of the Banks family, father George, mother Winifred, and children Jane and Michael. With the mischievous siblings scaring off nanny after nanny, the charismatic Mary Poppins arrives to try her hand.
From her first entrance, Emma Cory positively dazzled as Poppins. The senior is no stranger to the Sheldon stage, and her experience shined in each scene. Cory perfectly played the magical nanny with impressive vocals, a "spit spot" English accent and a persona closely resembling the universally adored Julie Andrews role.
As Mary begins to interact with the children, the jack-of-all-trades Bert joins in the fun. Mathias Grove executed the lead male role well, with a warm and friendly feel.
The production's biggest numbers - "Jolly Holiday," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Let's Go Fly a Kite" and "Step in Time" - feature impressive choreography executed by Cory, Grove and the entire chorus. The sets and costumes of the large numbers are truly memorable.
Jordan Carpenter plays the stern George Banks with conviction, before eventually softening and again embracing his family in the second act.
Jessica Scheerer and Jack Kreye portray the young Jane and Michael energetically and deliver some great one-liners throughout the show.
Calli Hughes gracefully played the concerned mother. In a solo moment on stage in the second act, Hughes beautifully sang an emotional reprise of "Being Mrs. Banks."
Standout performances from Hannah Flemke and Wyatt Hofius as servants in the Banks' home provided big laughs with their slapstick comedy.
Throughout the production, four new songs were peppered in amongst favorites from the 1964 Disney film. In a highlight of the first act, Molly Cyr wonderfully sang "Feed the Birds," later joined in harmony by Cory.
As the second act begins, Hannah Coyle expertly plays the cruel and overbearing nanny Miss Andrew with the help of impressive makeup. She and Cory sing back and forth in the show's darkest tune "Brimstone and Treacle."
The RWHS production of "Mary Poppins" is a hit. The cast is excellent and supported well by a full pit orchestra. Exciting set designs, lovely costumes and a few special effect "magic" moments captured the audience's' imagination, giving a sense of being inside the classic Disney film.
The production runs nearly three hours long, with a 15-minute intermission. Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 14. Tickets are available online or at the Sheldon Theater box office.