BY LAURA CALDERON
Winner of five Tony Awards, Mary Poppins has captured millions of hearts on Broadway and is now scheduled to take stage on the County College of Morris campus as students prepare to take on the award-winning musical. Working long and intense hours three times a week since mid-September, the cast is eager to debut their hard work to audiences beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3rd until Saturday, Nov. 7th.
With more than 45 cast members, costume advisors and producers, Maryann Hannoa said that one of the most challenging tasks working with such a large cast is “blocking, getting everyone together, and getting them dressed.”
With so many students in multiple scenes, Hannoa said layering costumes help to save time with quick wardrobe changes.
“We layer the second and third outfit underneath the original first outfit, so they are prepared beforehand,” Hannoa said.
As far as Mary Poppins’ signature look goes – a long red coat, black hat and famous bird umbrella – Hannoa was determined to supply them and has gone as far as renting them.
Many moving elements have been put in place to bring the 1964 film to life.
“The most difficult part of production is the varied array of talent,” said Colleen McArdle, a choreographer for the play. “Some people are really great tappers, some are really great ballet and overall dancers.”
Working in what McArdle describes as a “rapid pace to pull everything off,” the play has the same number of songs as the movie, but without any reprises.
Dealing with one of the most iconic songs from the film, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” McArdle has chosen to stick to the tradition behind the song.
“The wonderful thing about it is that the original Broadway choreographer’s partner was hearing impaired,” McArdle said. “So when they do the letters that is from British sign language. The letters are in a manual you get when you rent the show, and I wanted to keep it pure. We did it on the first day, and everybody was helping each other learn. It has been a real bonding experience for the kids.”
After 39 years and 78 shows, director Maryelaine Mammon has not lost her love of directing or her passion for theater.
Mammon said her biggest issue was cutting the length of the show down.
“The show was originally three hours, and ours isn’t,” Mammon said. “However, every song is still represented and sung.”
Regarding the famous scene where Mary Poppins flies, Mammon has every intention of providing audiences with the enchanted scene with the help of Flying by Foy, a worldwide theatrical flying service.
“She’s not nervous, she wants to fly,” said Mammon when asked whether she believed the star of the play, Noelle Cappuzzo, was nervous regarding the idea of flying.
“I am so excited for the well-known flying scene,” Cappuzzo said, “It is like the icing on top of the cake, adding a whole new level of excitement and magic to the show.”
Being her first lead role in a CCM musical, Cappuzzo, a double major in musical theatre and dance, said she feels so honored to have been given such a wonderful opportunity.
Eager for opening night to arrive, Cappuzzo said, “I am so excited to be playing a character that is so loved, well-known and admired by so many.”
Describing the role as an opportunity to bring a character to life, Cappuzzo said she is thrilled to give a new interpretation on an iconic character.
“My version of Mary Poppins is more loving and sweet, with a little bit of silliness at times, while still being prim and proper.”
Mammon said the play feels like it’s full of magic.
“It gives you that feeling, She flies into the stars. It’s magic we’re making.”