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It's a Jolly Holiday with MARY POPPINS at Syracuse Stage

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Magic and family fun ring in the holiday season as Syracuse Stage presents the classic musical Mary Poppins, Nov. 26 to Jan. 8 at the Archbold Theatre in the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex at 820 E. Genesee St.

Based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins tells the story of the Banks family, well-to-do Londoners, and their eccentric, magical nanny. As George, the father, faces pressure at work, his children Jane and Michael torment every nanny sent their way, until Mary comes along. With her assistance, it's not just the children who learn important lessons - the parents do, too.

The show is filled with famous songs including "Jolly Holiday", "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "Chim Chim Cher-ee", and many more.

Co-produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama, this production stars Emily Brockway as the magical nanny, Jonathan Burke as chimneysweep Bert, and Benjamin Howes as Mr. Banks.

Peter Amster, who has helmed such popular Syracuse Stage productions as Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, and A Christmas Carol, returns to direct this high-energy musical. This production, while familiar to many audiences, might surprise those who have only seen the movie, says Amster.

"There are darker colors in our shadows as well as light in this production," he explains. "Many people know the musical, know the movie - the story it has to tell about this family and how a strange, interesting, complicated, kind of scratchy character changes their life. This family is in the process of splitting apart and she comes in with her odd magic and pulls them back together again."

If the conceit of a whimsically magical character visiting an upper crust English family sounds familiar, it's for good reason - Travers was greatly inspired by J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Unlike Peter's tale, however, Mary and the Banks family deal with more grounded concerns, such as the financial and economic depression England was facing in the '30s. This gives the fanciful story a taste of grim reality, Amster said, and provides further tension.

"I think that extra layer of financial stakes, the desperation of Mr. Banks to make a go of it - the stakes became much more interesting," he says.

Though not explicitly holiday themed, Amster explains Mary Poppins is a perfect choice for this time of year because of its focus on family and the recognition of the importance of keeping together as a family.

Audience members of all ages and theatre knowledge are sure to find joy in Syracuse Stage's production. Amster promises some surprises even for those who may think they know the tale inside and out.

"If you know the movie, you'll be surprised by the musical," he says. "If you've seen the musical, you might be surprised by this production of it. And if you know neither of them, you're in for a rip-snorting good time. Great dancing, wonderful tunes - and perhaps a few characters will levitate."

Tickets are available in person at the Box Office, by phone at 315-443-3275, or online at syracusestage.org.

Tickets are available in-person at the Box Office, by phone, 315-443-3275, or online at www.syracusestage.org.

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins

Original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Book by Julian Fellowes

New songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe

Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh

Director: Peter Amster

Music Director: Brian Cimmet

Choreographer: Anthony Salatino

Scenic Design: Linda Buchanan

Costume Design: Devon Painter

Lighting Design: Thomas C. Hase

Sound Design: Jonathan R. Herter

Projection Design: Kate Freer

Associate Conductor: Patrick Fanning

Dialect Coach: Celia Madeoy

Co-Produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama

Cast

Shanel Bailey? Schoolgirl, Judy, Chimney Sweep

Sofia Benderski Jane

Markcus Blair? Park Couple, Bank Clerk, Tin Soldier, Chimney Sweep, Board of Directors

Tucker Breder? Bert's Helper, Bank Clerk, Customer, Chimney Sweep, Board of Directors

Emily Brockway* Mary Poppins

Tristen Buettel?* Park Couple, Bank Clerk, China Doll, Chimney Sweep

Maria Bufalini? Schoolmistress, Bank Clerk, Chimney Sweep, Board of Directors

Jonathan Burke* Bert

Timothy Davis-Reed* Park Keeper, Von Hussler

Ezekiel Edmonds? Valentine, Northbrook, Chimney Sweep

Abigail Gjurich? Schoolmistress, Miss Smythe, Chimney Sweep

Caleb James Grochalski? Bert's Helper, Park Couple, Tin Soldier, Chimney Sweep, Poseidon

Joilet F. Harris* Mrs. Corry, Katie Nana

Myles Justise Hayward? Bert's Helper, Customer, Chimney Sweep

Rueby Holsopple Michael

Crawford Horton? Schoolmaster, Bank Clerk, Teddy Bear, Chimney Sweep, Board of Directors

Benjamin Howes* George Banks

Marie Kemp* Mrs. Brill, Bird Woman

David Lowenstein* Admiral Boom, Bank Chairman, Policeman

Celia Maedoy* Miss Andrew, Miss Lark, Queen Victoria Statue

Cheech Manohar? Robertson Ay

Kelly McCormick* Winifred Banks

Isabella Moore? Bert's Helper, Schoolgirl, Chimney Sweep

Jenna Najjar? Nanny with Pram, Bank Clerk, Chimney Sweep, Board of Directors

Michael Roach? Schoolboy, Bank Clerk, Chimney Sweep, Messenger, Board of Directors

Kelsey Roberts? Annie, Park Couple, Bank Clerk, Tin Soldier, Chimney Sweep

Brooke Solan? Fannie, Park Couple, Bank Clerk, Chimney Sweep

Matt Steriti? Schoolboy, Bank Clerk, Chimney Sweep, Messenger, Board of Directors

Jenny Taylor? Schoolgirl, Bank Clerk, Chimney Sweep

Richard Westfahl? Neleus, Bank Clerk, Customer, Chimney Sweep, Board of Directors

* Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

? Student, Syracuse University Department of Drama

Special Events

Dec. 2- Opening Night Party (free for ticket holders)

Join the cast for a post-show celebration with live music, food, drinks and good times. Featuring live music by jazz vocalist Nancy Kelly.

Dec. 4- New! Brunch & Broadway Steps

Dancers of all ages and abilities can join Mary Poppins choreographer Anthony Salatino for a dance class at Syracuse Stage to learn some choreography from the show. Class at 11 a.m., free for ticket holders.

Prologue at 1 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors one hour prior to curtain. Bring your questions.

Actor Talkback (free for ticket holders)

A Q&A session with the actors following the 7 p.m. performance.

Dec. 7- Wednesday @ 1 Lecture (free for ticket holders)

Lecturer will be announced at a later date.

Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dec. 8- Magical Sidewalk Happy Hour at 6 p.m. (free for ticket holders)- Come experience magic as local sidewalk chalk artist John Landers creates a work of art inside our lobby with the help of Studio 15 and free appetizers courtesy of Dominick's Restaurant. All drinks will be half-priced.

Dec. 9- New! Wine & Beer Flights ($40, includes wine and beer tastings and show admission) A delightful way for those who have come-of-age to get a spoonful of grape and grain.

Dec. 10- Prologue at 2 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors one hour prior to curtain. Bring your questions.

ASL Interpreted Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Audio Described Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are blind or visually impaired.

Dec. 14- Dinner & Show ($45, includes dinner and show admission)

Enjoy a buffet dinner with fellow theatre lovers in the Sutton Pavilion. Seasonal faire prepared by Phoebe's Restaurant followed by great theatre.

Dec. 18- New! Brunch & Broadway Steps

Dancers of all ages and abilities can join Mary Poppins choreographer Anthony Salatino for a dance class at Syracuse Stage to learn some choreography from the show. Class at 11 a.m., free for ticket holders.

Dec. 15- Prologue at 6:30 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors one hour prior to curtain. Bring your questions.

Dec. 18- Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Jan. 8- Sensory-Friendly Performance at 3 p.m.

Welcoming to individuals with sensory, social and learning disabilities and their families, the performance will have special accommodations that create a more relaxed theatre experience without losing the magic of a live performance.

ABOUT Syracuse Stage

Syracuse Stage is Central New York's premier professional theatre in residence at Syracuse University. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 300 plays in over 40 seasons including a number of world, American, and East Coast premieres. Each season 70,000 patrons enjoy an adventurous mix of new plays, and bold interpretations of classics and musicals, featuring the finest theatre artists. In addition, Stage maintains a vital educational outreach program that annually serves more than 15,000 students from 14 counties. A solid core of subscribers and supporters helps keep Syracuse Stage a vibrant artistic presence in Central New York. Additional support comes from the government, foundations, corporations and Syracuse University. Syracuse Stage is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance (ACLA), the University Hill Corporation and the East Genesee Regent Association. Syracuse Stage is a member of The League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theatre association in the country.


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