Parkland Press

Friday, November 16, 2018
ABOVE: Jared Sussman as Michael Banks, Jess Benninger as Jane Banks, Lydia Walker as Mary Poppins, Jacob Greening as Bert and the featured dancers rehearse a scene from “Mary Poppins Jr.” to be performed 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10; and 3 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11 at the high school, 2700 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall. ABOVE: Jared Sussman as Michael Banks, Jess Benninger as Jane Banks, Lydia Walker as Mary Poppins, Jacob Greening as Bert and the featured dancers rehearse a scene from “Mary Poppins Jr.” to be performed 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10; and 3 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11 at the high school, 2700 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall.
LEFT: Jared Sussman as Michael Banks, Skylar Ankrom, a featured dancer, and Jess Benninger as Jane Banks, practice their lines from a scene in the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.”PRESS PHOTOS BY SUSAN BRYANT LEFT: Jared Sussman as Michael Banks, Skylar Ankrom, a featured dancer, and Jess Benninger as Jane Banks, practice their lines from a scene in the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.”PRESS PHOTOS BY SUSAN BRYANT
The cast of “Mary Poppins Jr” rehearse a scene during dress rehearsal Nov. 5 in the auditorium at Parkland High School. The cast of “Mary Poppins Jr” rehearse a scene during dress rehearsal Nov. 5 in the auditorium at Parkland High School.
Parkland High School thespians rehearse a scene from the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.” during dress rehearsal Nov. 5 at the high school. Parkland High School thespians rehearse a scene from the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.” during dress rehearsal Nov. 5 at the high school.
Megan Brenkert as Winifred Banks and Rachel Kanter as Mrs. Brill practice their lines from the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.” Megan Brenkert as Winifred Banks and Rachel Kanter as Mrs. Brill practice their lines from the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.”
Jess Benninger as Jane Banks, Jared Sussman as Michael Banks, Zachary Evans as John Northbrook and Ian Bower as George Banks practice their lines from the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.” Jess Benninger as Jane Banks, Jared Sussman as Michael Banks, Zachary Evans as John Northbrook and Ian Bower as George Banks practice their lines from the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.”

Mary Poppins to enchant audiences with her magic

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by Susan Bryant sbryant@tnonline.com in Local News

For their annual children’s show, Parkland High School thespians will perform “Mary Poppins Jr.,” Nov. 9-11 at the high school.

“Mary Poppins Jr.” tells the tale of a magical English nanny who is blown by an east wind to 17 Cherry Tree Lane in London, and into the lives of George and Winfred Banks and their children.

This two-act musical is based on a series of children’s books written by P.L. Travers and the 1964 classic Walt Disney film of the same title.

Ian Bower, who portrays George Banks, and Megan Brenkert, who plays Winifred Banks, commented on their roles.

“My character is the prideful and posh father in the Banks’ household,” Bower said. “He has little care for fun and games, and worries about nothing except the future of his children in sometimes foolish ways.”

Bower said his character is sharp and well dressed.

“I love hearing all the catchy musical numbers, some of which have been in my head for months,” he said.

Brenkert said Winifred is a struggling mother who is trying to fit into society but struggles to do so with her unique personality.

“I like how she becomes stronger and more secure within herself,” Brenkert said.

Brenkert likes the amazing costumes and how the cast members grow throughout the process of performing.

Jenna Stanski, who plays Miss Andrew, also commented on her character and the musical.

“Miss Andrew is mean, nasty, scary and very controlling,” Stanski said. “She loves her brimstone and treacle (molasses) and was George’s old nanny.”

Stanski enjoys the dancing in the musical.

“My favorite thing about Mary Poppins is the amount of dancing we have to do,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve been in a show with this much dancing.”

Jared Sussman, who portrays Michael Banks, and Jess Benninger, who plays Jane Banks, discussed their roles.

“Michael Banks is excitable and naughty and wants to be like his father when he grows up,” Sussman said. “He and his sister Jane are spoiled and misbehave and nannies keep quitting until Mary Poppins arrives.”

Sussman said Michael Banks is fun to play because of his sassy attitude.

“The plot is about it seems your troubles are so big but with Bert on the roof top and the magical Mary Poppins, your troubles seem so small,” Sussman stated.

Benninger said Jane is a very precocious and an entitled young lady.

“She gets everything she wants and makes it her personal goal to terrorize every nanny her parents hire, until Mary Poppins,” Benninger said.

She loves the fact Jane has such a strong personality and is not afraid to make sure everyone knows her opinion on something.

“I really like the character development of the Banks children from the beginning of the show to the end. At first they are bratty, spoiled kids who never appreciate anything. By the end they are kind and considerate,” Benninger said.

“Mary Poppins Jr. is directed by English teacher Elizabeth Smith and choreographed by Kristen Smith.

Elizabeth Smith chose the musical because she has always loved “Mary Poppins,” the story, songs, dancing and magic.

“As soon as the rights were available for the musical, I requested the show,” she said. “In the junior version, Bert acts as a narrator and introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family.

“Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Mary Poppins arrives and takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures.

“Using a combination of magic and common sense she teaches the family members how to love and value one another again.”

“Mary Poppins Jr.” will be performed 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10 and 3 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11 in the auditorium at the high school, 2700 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., South Whitehall.

Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for students, children and seniors and are available at ShowTix4U.com.

For those who are unable to complete a purchase online, ShowTix4U.com has a call center where tickets may be purchased via phone at 1-866-967-8167 for an additional fee.

For more information, go to ShowTix4U.com or parklandsd.org/tickets.