Leland & Gray Players open 22nd season with ‘Mary Poppins’

TOWNSHEND — The Leland & Gray Players' first show of its 22nd season is Mary Poppins by Julian Fellows, Richard Sherman, and Robert Sherman.

In a news release, director Jessa Rowan said that this is “a musical that shows us how to discover the good in ourselves, how to find the magic in our everyday lives, and how to treat others with the utmost kindness.

Mary Poppins teaches us all lessons: how to turn our hearts to kindness and to love. She teaches us how to spin a gloomy day of chores to a game of cheer. We learn to look past appearances and to give away what we have to those in need. In this day and age, these lessons are so very essential which, I believe, makes this musical quite timeless.”

Among the show's many cherished tunes are: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Let's Go Fly a Kite,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “ Jolly Holiday,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Feed the Birds.”

Mary Poppins features juniors Fairen Stark in the title role and Sarah Anderson as Bert; senior Kenny Cashman and sophomore Caroline Mehner as Mr. and Mrs. Banks, and freshman Abbie Hazelton and Abby Coyne (grade 5) as their children.

Senior Becca Williams is Mrs. Brill and freshman Luke Parker-Jennings is Robertson Ay. The ensemble is rounded out by Annika Crego and Emma Kelly (grade 7), Evelyn Swim, Hope Thibault, Allison Teitelbaum, Spencer Butynski and Sylvia Stark (grade 8); Alice Coyne, Dakota Gervais, Kirsten Munson, Christian Cannella (grade 9); sophomore Veronica Stevens, junior Emily Frost, and senior Adam Culver.

Senior Anna Cate Harrison is crew captain, assisted by senior Caleb Dagg and juniors Jillian Carona and Hunter Leavitt. Senior Josh Garland is lighting captain, and senior Sage Hall is sound captain. Players' alumna Abby Wicker is costumier assisted by freshman Pia Burke and exchange students Beatrice Popusoi and Kelsey Oh.

Players' technical director is Paul Madalinski assisted by Hunter Leavitt and student set builders Peter Broussard, Jake Porter, Ty Squiers-Restino, and Chris Privee. Penny Tuerk and other Players' parents are volunteering behind the scenes.

L&G Players' director Jessa Rowan leads, assisted by Caroline Mehner; stage management is by Dakota Gervais; music direction is shared by Dan Dewalt and James Pecsok and the pit band features award-winning alumna Karlie Kauffeld; high school music teacher Rene Bernard; Dewalt; Pecsok, and junior Max Spicer on percussion.

Choreography is by Sarah Grasso, Ben Ashley, and Sarah Forfa, assisted by student Veronica Stevens. Set is designed by Jessa Rowan and junior Anna Cate Harrison. Annie Landenberger is production consultant.

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