Halstead students to perform ‘Mary Poppins’ this weekend

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe Halstead High School’s fall musical production of “Mary Poppins.”

The play is scheduled for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with limited seating. Harvey County did pass a limit on mass gatherings greater than 45 people starting Wednesday of this week, but schools and school activities are exempt.

Students have been working hard to prepare for the show. The cast is led by senior Karenna Gerber, as the magically quirky Mary Poppins and senior Max Cubbage, as jack-of-all-trades, Bert.

“Mary Poppins is a nanny that comes in to help these children who are kind of naughty and she’s there to help the family come together, because there’s kind of division,” Gerber said.

She encourages family bonding through lots of singing and use of imagination.

“Mary Poppins is practically a god,” Cubbage said. He described his own character as being a constant observer.

“He’s just always around and always knows what’s going on,” he said. “He’s always trying to help. His father told him to learn a trade, so he learned everything.”

Gerber’s favorite song in the musical is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious because she enjoys the dance.

“We get all the extras onstage and it’s just a lot of fun energy,” she said.

She actually learned the dance by watching videos and then was in charge of teaching it to the rest of the chorus. Cubbage didn’t have one particular song that was his favorite.

“I just like the flow that Bert and Mary have,” he said. “It’s kind of that he’s always flirtatious and she’s always rejecting.”

Cubbage and Gerber said they’ve been acting together since sixth grade through the summer theater program. This isn’t the first time there’s been an unrequited love interest between their two characters.

“I’d say our roles have been pretty consistent,” Gerber said.

“We’ve become very comfortable acting together,” Cubbage added.

During Monday’s rehearsal, Gerber said rehearsals had been going well and they hadn’t had to make too many changes because of COVID-19, up until that point.

Other supporting characters in “Mary Poppins” include freshman Eli Gerber and sophomore Evyn Moore as Michael and Jane Banks, the children that Mary Poppins is a nanny to. A total of 62 students are involved in the cast and crew.

Director Claire Clifford said she had chosen “Mary Poppins” because she felt it was a wonderful fit for the students she had coming in this year.

“We have some very talented students and I wanted to showcase as many as possible,” Clifford said. She noted that the show features several lead acting, dancing and singing roles that have helped challenge and expand students’ abilities.

The high school plans to limit attendance to 25 percent of the auditorium’s capacity, so family groups can social distance. This would allow for 170-238 people per showing, depending on the size of those family groups. Family members of cast and crew are being given first priority with the available seating. Tickets may be requested by calling the high school at 316-835-2682.

Max Cubbage, left, as Bert gives a word of advice to Eli Gerber and Evyn Moore, who play Michael and Jane Banks.
Freshman Dominique Schutte, right, practices a solo as Mrs. Corry, as freshman Eli Gerber and sophomore Evyn Moore, the Banks children, look on.
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