Life & Leisure, Marquee

MHS presents the famous nanny tale this weekend at the Met

MORGANTOWN — The magical world of “Mary Poppins” takes time to create — so much so that Earl Schiffeauer confesses he’s yet to watch the play, which Morgantown High Thespian Troupe No. 27 will present April 19-22 at the Metropolitan Theatre.
“We’ve been so busy, I haven’t seen a run through, but maybe tonight,” said Schiffeauer, the production’s technical director, during a recent rehearsal.
The MTEC teacher has been helping students build sets for about six years.
“I train the kids how to use the tools and put things together,” he said. “As a teacher, I want it to be a learning experience for them, so that maybe they can take it on in their lives. … Some of the kids have never used a sliding compound miter saw. So I show them how to do that and place their hands so they can keep all of their fingers.”
He and a crew of five students, along with some parent volunteers, have erected chimneys, built a nursery and constructed stairs and a large wall piece.
“I think they’re beautiful,” said Theresa Appleyard of the set pieces. “They have actual chimneys that we can dance on. … We didn’t have a lot of funding, so the fact that [Schiffeauer] recycled almost everything to bring the set to life the way he did this year is really amazing.”
The 10th-grader portrays a chimney sweep, and has two larger roles as Mrs. Corry and a park keeper.
Her favorite part of the show is “Step in Time” — the
10-minute dance scene on those chimneys she mentioned.
“The choreography is hard. It took so long to learn, but now we’ve got it down.”
This is Appleyard’s second show — she was a part of the ensemble cast in last year’s “Hello, Dolly!” — and she said the small cast of 18 has had less time to prepare, but the show has not suffered because of it.
“We didn’t start rehearsing until February, last year we got started in January, Appleyard said. “I was really nervous because this is such a huge production, but it’s crazy how everything really does come together in the end.”
The theatrical version of “Mary Poppins” — the story of a nanny who goes on fantastical adventures with her charges, Jane and Michael Banks — will have many of the same elements as the 1964 musical film produced by Walt Disney. You can expect to hear, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” for instance. But Appleyard said it also incorporates aspects of the book series written by P.L. Travers.
“Mrs. Corry was in the books, but only had a little role in the movie. It was nothing special. So I’m glad they brought her back,” she said.
Appleyard describes Mrs. Corry as an “immortal, wild woman” who helps Mary Poppins.
“In the musical, you see Mr. and Mrs. Banks’ struggles and the evil Miss Andrew, and a lot of different things. It’s nice to get to see more of the characters than just Mary Poppins.”

  • “Mary Poppins” is set for 7 p.m. today-Friday, noon Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Metropolitan Theater, 371 High St. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students. MHS students may attend for free with a fingerscan.