Tonight at Hayes High School, the Banks family will hire a practically perfect nanny as the Hayes Thespians put on its first of four performances of “Mary Poppins.”
Dress rehearsals were underway this week to iron out all the timings, scene changes and little moments in the musical, and both theater veterans and newcomers said they were excited for tonight’s performance.
“I’m excited, but it’s nerve-wracking,” said Austin Hassel, who plays George Banks in the production. Hassel said the toughest part of the musical for him is “making the character bigger and as funny as possible.”
Likewise, fellow senior Bella Bosco, who plays Winifred Banks, said Tuesday that her favorite part of the show has been learning about a character who isn’t very fleshed out in the Disney film.
“It’s been really fun to learn the songs and learn how to be a mom,” Bosco laughed. “Shout-out to my mom!”
Bosco, a veteran theater student, said emotions are running high during the final week of the seniors’ last production at Hayes.
“There’s definitely lots of emotion,” she said, adding that the final scene is particularly emotional for her. “(Thespians) has been a great experience throughout high school, and I’m really excited.”
This is senior Logan Saito’s first production at Hayes, and he said Tuesday he wished he had become involved sooner.
“This is my first time singing and dancing,” Saito said. “I’m really excited.”
Saito, an ensemble member in the production, said he feels like he’s part of a community after learning the show with the cast.
“The people here are so supporting and caring,” Saito said.
Caroline Binkley, a senior in the production, said her favorite part of the experience has been getting to know Saito and the other newcomers.
“We spend so much time together,” Binkley said. “Everyone should get to experience it.”
Binkley added the last week of rehearsals is always exciting and nerve-wracking.
“It always comes down to the wire,” she said. “(Dress week) really transforms the show. It’s always good. (Director Dara Gillis) always makes it good.”
Freshman Teagan Knutson said the community in the musical was very welcoming.
“It’s a family situation,” she said. “It really does feel like a family. I’m so excited (for the first performance).”
Rachel White, also a freshman, said that she’s grown up attending shows at Hayes, and she’s happy to be in one of the productions.
“I’m really excited to be a part of it,” White said. “I love the costumes and choreography. It’s really cool to get to do something so hard.”
Likewise, Katie Hejmanowski, a freshman, said she’s been to at least five shows at Hayes growing up and being a part of a production has been intimidating.
“I’m nervous. I’ve been watching (these shows) my whole life,” Hejmanowski said. “I really enjoyed working with all the people. It’s like a big family.”
Senior Madeline Thompson is playing Jane Banks in the show. On Tuesday, Thompson said she’s “not as nervous” as she was at the start of the production, and her faith has been a big help during the show.
“I believe in God and that helps me with that,” Thompson said. “We’ve prepared so much. I’ve never had solos or anything.”
Sophomore Meredith Keller, who plays Mary Poppins, said Tuesday that she’s excited for the community to see the show.
“I’m a combination of nervous and excited,” Keller laughed.
Keller said she originally auditioned for a different role but was asked to read for Mary Poppins and was later given the part.
“I was so surprised,” she said. “I did really good, and it was really exciting.”
Keller said the most challenging part for her is staying on top of Mary Poppins’ numerous costume changes, including some changes in the middle of a scene. Keller said she’s enjoyed working on the musical and “making so many new friends.”
Keller said the message of the show is one that everyone can connect with.
“(My favorite part) is the message that anything can happen,” Keller said. “If you work hard and give it 110 percent, good things come your way.”
The Friday evening show and Saturday afternoon show are both completely sold out. Less than 10 tickets were available for the 7:30 p.m. Saturday show and less than 30 tickets remained for the 7:30 p.m. Thursday show as of Wednesday afternoon.
Tickets can be purchased at http://www.delawarecityschools.seatyourself.biz.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.