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San Jac’s ‘Poppins’ brims with big dance scenes

October 11, 2018

A practically perfect British nanny teaches a troubled family to appreciate the important things in life when the musical “Mary Poppins” is performed Oct. 19-28 at San Jacinto College Central in Pasadena.

“This is a great experiment,” said Jerry Ivins, the school’s artistic director, explaining that the production is a collaboration with Goose Creek Memorial High School in Baytown.

Nina Saunders, the theater director at Goose Creek, is the show’s “production director,” staging “Mary Poppins” with help from the college’s artistic staff.

The cast includes students and adults from throughout the Bay Area and Baytown.

Sadie Aiken, 17, plays Mary Poppins, the peculiar but magical nanny who starred in a series of children’s books by P.L. Travers. Aiken is a student at Goose Creek who has performed in musicals at Baytown Little Theatre since she was 9.

David McKnight, 19, of Pearland portrays Bert, who leads fellow chimney sweeps in a show-stopping production number, “Step in Time.”

“The show has big dance numbers,” Ivins said.

The choreographer is Jessica McCarroll. Elise Grace Diehl is the show’s music director.

Many of the songs, such as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim-Chim-Cher-ee” and “Jolly Holiday,” debuted in a 1964 Disney movie that won Academy Awards for composers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

However, some of the movie’s tunes, including “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Feed the Birds” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” appear at different times in the stage adaptation by Julian Fellowes, with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

A new song, not in the movie, is “Anything Can Happen,” which is performed at pivotal points in which members of the Banks family learn to open their hearts to Mary Poppins’ cheery philosophy of life.

Benjamin Boyes, 17, plays Mr. Banks, with Virginia Sivley as his wife, Winnifred.

The role of their daughter, Jane Banks, is double-cast with Caitlynn Ivins of Deer Park and Lilian McCarroll, while Ashton Rohus and Sebastian Saunders take turns portraying Michael Banks.

San Jacinto College theater and film students who are involved in the musical include: Karen Ascencio, Alyssa Bennett, Kaylah Bohannon, Efren “Trey” Calderon of Pasadena, Tori Castillo, Emily Duren and Garrett Dawkins of Pearland.

Other students in the production are: Thomas Donnelly, Juliana Flores, Julissa Herrera, Brendan King, Jacqueline Lilley, Kariyana Mosley, Reese Reynolds of Pearland, BB Richardson, Linda Rodriguez, Melissa Rodriguez, Sarah Rodriguez, DeVonte Rogers, Alane Rozell and Nathanael Taylor.

Additional San Jacinto College students in the production include: Elizabeth Blue, Dylan Daniels, Kamryn Deanovich, Myah Garcia, Emiliano Hernandez, Brittney Marks, Victor Medina and Jacob Wologo.

Pasadena residents in the cast include Alicia Gutierrez and Noriss Thach. La Porte performers are Shelby Adams, Victoria Sommer, Nathan Britt and Christianna Diaz.

Others from Deer Park are Jacqueline Carter, Tea Reyes, Miriam Rivas, Kiersten Rosales, Myrissa Roberson and Samantha Roberson. League City is represented by Brittany Stuessy.

Others in the cast are: Alex Trejo as Admiral Boom, Krystel Bright of Channelview and Ian Alvarado Mora, Michael Banks, Abigail Ibarra, Matthew Weber, Angelina Goodwill, Jacob Goodwill, Paul Goodwill, Stephen Goodwill, Violet McCarroll, Kristine Richards, Griffin Saunders, Noah Welch, Sarah Menendez, Monica Cervantes, Carissa Villarreal and George Villarreal.

Other Goose Creek Memorial students in the cast are Chris Lewis, Dominic Villarreal and Ashley Yudiche.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net

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