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Behind the Scenes with Mary Poppins Prepared by: DMDesiderata
December 2, 2008 Newsletter - Interviews - What's Up Eliters!

On November 20th, my Mom and I went to see the Broadway play Mary Poppins. While we were on the train to NYC, I said to my Mom, "We're going to be on stage tonight." Of course, she knew I was only joking, but what I had said really did come true... we ended up getting a Back Stage Pass.

We had first row seats in the center. It was an awesome show -- great music, great dancing, and lots of magic! Throughout the performance, my Mom and I were trying to figure out how they were able to do some of the things they did.

As if the performance wasn't already great, there is only one word the describes what it was like to be able to go on a Back Stage Tour... yup, you guessed it... supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

We were accompanied by one of the stage managers, Michael Wilhoite. We got to stand on the stage and stare out at the audience just like the performers do. What a fabulous view! Then Michael showed us something that can only be seen on a Back Stage Tour.... the codfish that hangs in Mr. Banks office above the door. This can't be seen off stage. We got to see all the umbrellas Mary Poppins uses during the performance -- all for different purposes. We got to ask some questions too. We learned that at the end of the performance when the vase breaks, it is put back together with magnets! Another fascinating thing we learned was that during the Trial Scene, when one of the performers puts his hand through the window of the doll house, that this performance entire body was inside the doll house. WOW how he fit in such a small dollhouse! As he came out of the doll house, his suit inflated. We got to see how they move objects onto the stage using motors. We also learned that the stage floor is custom made for each play and that this is very expensive. We also asked how they were able to get all that stuff in Mary Poppins' bag. The bad sat on a table that had 2 legs. So we knew the objects didn't come from under the table. The stage manager wouldn't tell us and claimed this was magic and a magician can never reveal their secrets. Even though he wouldn't answer us, we did make some guesses -- we figured out that the coat hanger was foldable. The other objects were probably fed through the table as needed. We got to meet Mary Poppins (Scarlett Strallen), Bert -- the chimney sweeper (Adam Fiortino) and the children who played Jane and Michael Banks (Kelsey Fowler and Zach Rand) for this performance. We were able to get all of their autographs too!

Now many probably don't know that Zach Rand was one of the founding members of Broadway Cares. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry-based, non-profit AIDS fundraising and grants-making organization. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $140 million dollars for critically needed services for people with AIDS and other serious illnesses. If you are looking for a neat Holiday gift for someone on your list, consider purchasing something from their online store. It's really great to know that the theatre community cares enough to actively support such causes. I consider myself very blessed to have seen Mary Poppins and to learn about Broadway Cares. What we do together really does make a difference!

If you are wondering what I am planning next... well... my Mom and I have front row tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This is the 75th Anniversary show so it is sure to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

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