Merrill students featured in CWETA production of ?Mary Poppins?
In February of 2015 Mary Poppins will fly over audiences and land on the Grand Theater stage as the Central Wisconsin Educational Theatre Alliance presents this delightful Disney musical. Beyond its fabulous special effects and unforgettable characters, the message behind Mary Poppins remains timeless – that hope and optimism can be powerful in the face of hard times and that the value of family in such times is immeasurable.
This year students from six area school districts, including Merrill High School (MHS), will be performing this smash Broadway hit. More than 80 of the area’s most talented students are involved in the cast (including four Merrill area students), crew and pit orchestra.
Already cast in the MHS spring musical, Oliver!, junior Cole Severt brings the experience of prior shows to this, his first CWETA production. Cole is excited to perform at the Grand. He also declares, “It’s been a fun experience to participate with other talented performers; also, a shout out to Jacob Beyer.”
St. John’s Lutheran School eighth grader Abe Akey is performing in his second CWETA production. After appearing in Les Miserables, he has participated in various Wausau Conservatory of Music (WCM) and school choirs. Abe confesses, “I never danced before—ever! I’ve learned a lot and increased my vocal range singing so much.” This past summer Abe was a student in the WCM Music Theatre Voice Camp, and he plans to audition for MHS musicals and the next CWETA production.
Michelle Tlusty also brings prior experience from previous MHS and Central Wisconsin Children’s Theatre to Mary Poppins. Michelle observes, “It’s been really eye-opening as to how much goes into such a large scale show.” She quickly adds, “It’s been worth the commitment!” Michelle, a junior, also plans to attend UW-Eau Claire after graduation and pursue becoming a professor in Choral Education.
Junior Morgan Sondelski is playing the French horn in two pit orchestras: the CWETA show and the Wausau Community Theatre production of South Pacific. She also performs on stage as she is cast in the role of Nancy in Oliver! for MHS. As for CWETA, Morgan is surprised at the amount of music and the amount of difficulty putting everything together. However, she believes that the Mary Poppins pit consists of “a really, really talented group of musicians!”
Mary Poppins will hit the Grand Theater stage for 7 p.m. performances on Feb. 7, 13 and 14; and 2 p.m. matinees on Feb. 8, 14 and 15. Tickets are available from the Performing Arts Foundation (PAF). For complete ticket information, contact the PAF at 715-842-0988.