Review: Mary Poppins at Independence High School

By Frances “Franny” Stec, Osbourn Park High School 

There is only one word to describe Independence High School’s first-ever spring musical: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Mary Poppins has been adapted from a book, into a movie, and into a musical. The musical originally ran on the West End from September 2004 to January 2008, and after the success of the run, opened on Broadway in November 2006 and ran until March 2013. The musical takes inspiration from both the book and the movie, including well-known songs from the movie.

Katie Phillips as Mary Poppins did justice to the iconic songs “Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” through her beautiful singing voice. She never missed a beat in any of her songs, and her facial expressions while singing and acting were perfect, never breaking character once. A highlight of the production was when she floated through the air no less than four times on her umbrella. Her singing was by far the pinnacle of the show, receiving huge amounts of applause from the audience after every song. She also had amazing chemistry with everyone she worked with, especially Bert (Paul Hartmann).

Another standout performance came from Miss Andrew (Samantha Scott). Though she didn’t have as much time onstage as some of the other actors, she delivered a hilarious performance and created a character the audience loved to hate. She was funny in a different way as the dynamic duo of the show, Mrs. Brill (Katie Nail) and Robertson Ay (Chase Danzenbaker). The two of them stood out as a comedic duo that the audience loved to watch. They were wonderful on their own, but when they were together no one could take their eyes off of them. Both of them were great comedic actors with great singing voices.

The standout tech element of the show was the lighting. Designed by Jacob Foggi, Gavin Greygor, and Connor Gosman, the lighting was always noticeable. From the backdrop constantly changing colors to the eerie greens and yellows of the house when Miss Andrew (Samantha Scott) made her appearance, the lighting added to the whole feel of the show. Any time the lights changed, the audience was captivated.

Independence High School’s production of Mary Poppins was truly a magical experience. They showed off a strong ensemble during group numbers, and a solid lead cast that truly led to a great audience experience.

[This review of the May 6 performance of “Mary Poppins” at Independence High School is part of a series published in a partnership between Loudoun Now and The Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theater and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.]

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