Enchanting songs and a flying nanny entertain theater lovers this summer as three companies in Utah perform “Mary Poppins.”
It began at the Scera theater in Orem in June and continues as both the Farmington Community Arts Center and the Alpine Community Theater rehearse for their performances at the end of July. Alpine Community Theater will perform at the Covey Center in Provo July 24 – Aug. 15. The Farmington Community Arts Center will host the musical July 28 – Aug 3.
The musical’s production rights were released in October of 2014, and that has caused a spur of performances.
“Mary Poppins” is the show the audience wants to see, said April Berlin Operations Manager and Marketing & Development Assistant for the SCERA Theater.
“Theaters are always looking for the newest show, and being one of the first to do the show is great for marketing. Whenever a hot new show comes out, then theaters are going to scramble to do it,” Berlin said. “It’s also usually a show that casts are excited to be in, so we usually get a better attendance at auditions.”
Alpine Community Theater President and Executive Director Laura Snyder said her drive to do the show lies in a more personal reason.
“The biggest thing is it is my all-time favorite from when I was a little girl, so when they finally released the rights I was excited, and I was probably one of the first to sign up,” Snyder said.
Neither the Orem nor Provo theaters knew the other was performing the same show. Both agree that they don’t believe the Scera’s earlier performance will affect the turnout in Provo.
Berlin said with a new show it causes repeated attendance, and each theater has a unique way of displaying the same script.
“When a show is new people are excited to see it. If they have a great experience at one show they usually want to go again,” Berlin said. “Each theater has their own following and their own audience. There is enough audience around to support the show in several theaters, especially since each will have different interpretations.”
Snyder also said one difference is the Covey Center’s indoor venue vs. SCERA’s outdoor stage. In addition, people who love “Mary Poppins” will still come out.
Avid “Mary Poppins” fan Michelle Conrad said she feels the theaters are performing the same show because of its quality.
“It’s a childhood classic and a good, clean show. You can take your kids to it, and you don’t have to worry about something inappropriate being said. It appeals to parents because kids can go and everyone in the family can enjoy it,” Conrad said. “It always got my imagination going, plus the songs are super catchy and I always loved singing along and pretending I was in it.”
Audiences seem to agree, as Berlin said the Scera ensemble has great reviews from its performances.
“We have several people say it is one of the best shows they have ever seen in SCERA,” Berlin said.
The upcoming performance at the Covey Center features two casts, with close to 100 cast members in each. BYU students are also involved in that performance.
Snyder said she is excited for the ACT July 24 premiere and to share this story.
“It will be great to share the beautiful, heartwarming story and to showcase all of the talented people who have worked so hard to put this on,” she said.