Happy new week everyone!
I hope you all survived the bitter, brutal cold weather that Mother Nature decided to send our way and I hope that you are ready for the spring-like temperatures that we will be greeted with this coming week. Mother Nature is bi-polar and I for one am not able to handle it!
Last week, I shared some of my favorite hot spots in Lancaster to explore during my “free time. Hopefully, we will get the chance to run into each other at one of these locations in the near future!
As many of you already know (whether you are friends with me or just follow my blog), I am someone who fills my planner with lots of activities. And I mean LOTS. Like, we are talking jam packed full. If you were to open my planner, you might pass out because it is THAT full. Don’t believe me? Well then, just continue reading on and you will see Exhibit A for official photo evidence.
One of these many activities filling up my planner is that of Mary Poppins Jr. at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center. Today concluded the third show of opening weekend, which has been a huge success.
So, how have these kids captured my heart? Well, grab your popcorn and caffeinated beverage because here we go!
Four years ago, I was asked if I would be interested in music directing the Kids4Kids production. Not trusting that I would be able to handle the task with teaching music for an entire production, I was a bit reluctant to say yes. However, through the positive encouragement and words from several parents, I decided to give it a shot.
Words don’t even begin to express how thankful and grateful I am for saying that simple three letter word of “yes” four years ago.
Auditions for Mary Poppins Jr. took place in October over a period of several days. After seeing almost 200 kids, it was quite overwhelming and exhausting to think about working with the other members of the production team to narrow down the cast to approximately 60 individuals. What a daunting task!
But it happened. After many hours of discussion, it happened. A cast of 60+ kids of all ages (5-16) ready to take the stage in telling the classic tale of American’s favorite nanny.
We started music rehearsals back in November—yes, that’s right. November. The score for this production is much like that of an adult production—there are SO many songs and SO much music…it’s mind boggling! Yet, these kids didn’t complain at all during the rehearsal process and learned each song with precision and grace.
Since the very first day of rehearsal when we sang Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, my heart melted. These kids had captured me through their genuine innocence, smiles, love, and incredible voices! It is quite possibly the best feeling that a 31 year-old music director can feel.
Scratch that. IT IS the best feeling that a 31 year-old music director can feel.
Through countless hours of rehearsals, choreography adjustments, set moves that are a beast, quick costume changes, and snow weather cancellations, we were all feeling on edge the week before opening. Blood, sweat, and tears went into this production…literally. This production is not simple. In fact, it could be considered a main stage show because of how HUGE it is. And you know what?!
These kids are crushing it. CRUSHING.
And Friday night, at 7:30pm, the lights went up and these kids gave the performance of their lives for the audience members that attended to fill the seats of the theatre. It was truly magical…right up to the very last moment when Mary flew across the stage with her famous foot position.
I’ve had the opportunity to be backstage learning the reigns of stage manager duties which I will be handling this week and I can’t tell you how much of a joy it is to see these kids sing, dance, and smile. I’m not going to lie, I sing along backstage because it is impossible not to with these songs. And these kids just bring you into the story with their energy that you just have to sing with them.
I look around at the world we wake up to each day and see darkness, hate, negativity, and violence. It is upsetting.
I look around at these kids and see passion, love, kindness,innocence, hopefulness, and a bright future. They are the ones who can encourage and embrace positive change.
Mary Poppins Jr. is the kind of show that this world needs right now. It is full of heartfelt moments, laughs, catchy tunes, bright costumes, beautiful sets, and moments of joy around every corner and rooftop.
These kids have tugged on my heartstrings to make me beam from ear to ear and tear upwith their performances. And we have still have two more weeks of shows. I don’t even want to know how much of a mess I will be on closing day, but we won’t go there…yet.
I’m one heck of a proud music director for sure.
I’ve been working with the Kids4Kids productions for the past four years and I can say without a doubt that this show is easily my favorite. And this cast–talented, kind, hard-working, passionate, and fun loving.
Don’t miss out on the magic. Don’t miss out on having your heart captured by the smiles and passion of these 60+ young performers.
A spoonful of sugar might be just what you need to forget about the dreariness of the world for a short second.
As Mary Poppins says, “anything can happen if you let it.” So let yourself go from the stress of life and let these kids take you on a journey through London unlike one you’ve ever experienced before.
Sprinkle sunshine always,