The ACU Theatre department has chosen Mary Poppins as the Homecoming Musical for the 2015 fall semester.
Director Kari Hatfield said there were a number of reasons the show was selected.
“It’s a family favorite, and the rights became available just in time,” she said. “We just knew that it would be something our students would benefit from and our audiences would love.”
Laura Harris, sophomore theatre education major from Little Rock, said the production is very special to her.
“I think every theatre major, every person in theatre has a show that really got them committed and got them inspired to do theatre,” she said. “For me, Mary Poppins is that show, so I am very excited to get to do it.”
Harris said one of her favorite things about the show was its appeal to a wide range of audiences – especially children.
“Disney shows appeal to children, and getting children to come see theatre is the way we build an audience for the future,” she said. “People that come to see theatre as children are way more likely to come see theatre as adults. That’s something that excites me, so I love having a lot of children in the house when I perform in a show.”
The original Disney film is well-known, and there are a lot of similarities between the stage production and the movie. But they’re not identical. The dance numbers are bigger, some music is added and quite a few song arrangements are different, Hatfield said.
“Obviously, we won’t have animated penguins,” she said. “But there are some surprises in the live version of the show that we are looking forward to implementing.”
Even though the production is almost a year off, the department has some plans already made. Hatfield said they were looking into renting the set from the same theatre they rented the set for Les Misérables from for the 2013 homecoming musical.
The administration isn’t the only part of the department looking forward to the production, though. A lot of the students are already talking about the show, despite the fact auditions are typically held in April.
“Our students are excited,” Hatfield said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun with it.”