When Oliver Davids first participated in musical theater, he was living in England and was cast as Bert in “Mary Poppins.”
So for Davids, now a junior at Dr. Phillips High School, it’s sentimental that he is playing Bert in “Mary Poppins,” which opens Thursday, Feb. 18, at Dr. Phillips High School.
“Mary Poppins has always been really close to me and my family,” Davids said. “Just the story and really the essence of the film. It’s just always been a part of my life. So to finally bring (Bert) to life on stage, it’s such a great feeling.”
Davids isn’t the only one who gets to enjoy playing the part of Bert. Many key roles in the play were double-casted into Broadway and West End casts, because of the amount of talent available in the play. Jesse Valcich, a sophomore at Dr. Phillips, also feels a similar sense of nostalgia for the part, back to his childhood when he would watch “Mary Poppins” with his mother, who was a fan of Julie Andrews.
“I thought his character was amazing,” said Valcich, who performs Bert as part of the Broadway Cast. “He came on with all the instruments, and he just made everyone laugh — he made me laugh when I was 4.”
The cast isn’t the only over-sized aspect of the production. The lighting, special effects and the technical side of the play also pop. At one point in the show, Mary Poppins soars over the audience. Lighting and assistant director Kelly Lemos is excited about lighting called the Impression X4, flood lights that can create pictures as well.
Even making the set and the transitions run smoothly is a dance in itself.
“It’s a beautiful set … it’s huge,” said Director Roberta Emerson. “The backstage choreography is going to be just as tricky as the on-stage choreography.”
Overall, the show is a large undertaking — even for Dr. Phillips High School, which is known for its theater magnet.
“I’ve been here for 12 years,” said Jeff Perino, an assistant director of Mary Poppins. “We’ve done some very large-scale shows here. This, by far, is the largest.”
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].