June 3, 2014
PSST! Season Kicks Off June 6 with Mary Poppins
VALDOSTA — Peach State Summer Theatre will kick off the summer musical theatre season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 6, with “Mary Poppins.”
Based on P.L. Travers’s cherished stories and the beloved, classic 1964 Walt Disney film, “Mary Poppins,” according to Musical Theatre International, is “an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and astonishing stagecraft that makes it the musical the soars high above the rest.” The stage musical features elements from both the film and the stories, as well as a few original updated elements.
“Mary Poppins” opens with Bert, the chimney sweep, introducing viewers to Cherry Tree Lane, particularly No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, where the Banks family lives. Jane and Michael Banks are constantly misbehaving, talking back, and fighting and have just run off another in along line of nannies. Their dysfunctional parents, George and Winifred Banks, are too consumed with their own issues to adequately address the situation, so they do what they do best and place an advertisement in the newspaper for a new nanny — only the children decide to take matters in their own hands and write their own advertisement for the perfect nanny.
“Just as Mr. Banks is about to leave for work, Mary Poppins arrives,” according to the Musical Theatre International synopsis for the opening of the first act. “She fits the children’s requirements exactly. Mary Poppins is strict but fair ….”
“Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again,” the synopsis continues. “Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones she has a profound effect upon. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that ‘anything can happen if you let it.’”
“Mary Poppins” features original music and lyrics by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, book by Julian Fellowes, and new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. It was co-created by Disney and British theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh.
Directed by Randy Wheeler and sponsored in part by Wild Adventures Theme Park, Peach State Summer Theatre’s production of “Mary Poppins” will enjoy an extended 17-performance run, coming to an end on Saturday, July 26. Performances will be held in Valdosta State University’s Sawyer Theatre, which is located on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, at the corner of Oak Street and Brookwood Drive.
Peach State Summer Theatre, or PSST!, is Valdosta’s premiere professional summer stock theatre. Each summer, dozens of singers, dancers, technicians, managers, and creators gather on the Valdosta State University campus for 10 weeks, during which time they rehearse, build, and present three musicals in rotating repertory.
The 2014 Peach State Summer Theatre season marks the 25th year of VSU producing professional theatre for the city of Valdosta, the state of Georgia, and beyond. From 1990 to 2004, VSU produced the Jekyll Island Musical Theatre Festival. In 2005, the summer theatre program was relocated to the university and renamed PSST!
The Georgia Legislature designated Valdosta State’s summer stock theatre program the Official Musical Theatre of the State of Georgia.
VSU’s Jacque Wheeler serves as the artistic director of Peach State Summer Theatre. H. Duke Guthrie is the managing director.
“Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller” opens on Friday, June 20, and “42nd Street” opens on Friday, June 27. Along with “Mary Poppins,” the three shows will be presented in rotating repertory through the weekend of July 26-27 in Sawyer Theatre.
The Peach State Summer Theatre box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays and can be reached by calling (229) 259-7770.
Individual show tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children, students, and senior citizens, plus sales tax and a $1.50 processing fee.
Season memberships are available for $72.55 for adults and $65.06 for all children, students, and senior citizens, tax and fees included, through June 6 only. Each season membership comes with three admissions to be redeemed as the member chooses.
Patronages, which include a combination of gifts and season memberships to PSST!, are available beginning at the $150 level.
Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/arts/communication-arts/peach-state-summer-theatre/ to learn more.
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NOTE: “Mary Poppins” is rated G and is presented in two acts with one 15-minute intermission.