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Pop in to Poppins

By Ethan Chun

Eleven years ago, Mr. Gary Ferrar made his debut as theater director at New Hyde Park Memorial. Now, his time at NHP has come to a close, as he exited with his last musical, “Mary Poppins.”

Preparing for the musical was intensive as the cast, crew and pit all worked tirelessly for three months to get the show running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Some of the earliest cast rehearsals ran as far back as January, and oftentimes, students would stay after school until 10 p.m. just to rehearse, in addition to practicing lines and choreography at home and during their free periods.

“There was a lot. Like a lot, a lot,” senior Ishita Bansal said. “Every free period would be spent memorizing lines, choreographing dances, rehearsing numbers, reviewing stage-blocking, practicing vocals and doing character work. Mary Poppins is a beast of a character because everything she does has to be ‘Practically Perfect’ and she has some really demanding scenes. Once we got closer to the performance, we had our tech weeks where we had to incorporate a huge (and gorgeous) set, 12 costume changes, 27 prop placements and changes. This show is so technically demanding for everyone involved, but I really feel it was so rewarding to take a stab at.”

“We put a lot of time and effort into making our production of ‘Mary Poppins’ the show that it was,” senior Andrew Canese said. “Three months' worth of rehearsals, creating light cues, moving in the set and props, etc. all played into the final product. Then, of course, there was also the work actors put into their roles outside of rehearsals, like perfecting their characters’ accents.”

Source by Areej Zaidi

Senior Ishita Bansal revels in the spotlight, embodying Mary Poppins' character and personality as the audience grips their seat.

The musical utilized many huge sets which ranged from a house, nearly as tall as the height of the auditorium, to park gates and rooftops. These were not the only impressive set pieces though, as a rig was used to make the characters fly. It was specially operated by a flight crew that consisted of junior Varun Pillai, junior Sameer Bari and stage crew advisor Mr. D’Ammassa.

“There was a lot of preparation for this musical; the set was huge and had a lot of assembly and moving parts that we needed to learn to use properly,” senior Simrit Kaur said. "It was also very new for us to have the rigging system to fly the cast members, but it honestly was super fun once we got the hang of it.”

“The hardest thing for me backstage was the kites,” sophomore Esther Panicker said. “The kites always got tangled, and it always took a while to untangle it. It would take up to 20-30 minutes to untangle everything. It takes a lot of patience, but the kites are my favorite part of the musical. It looked absolutely beautiful….Other than that scene, moving sets on stage was a little troubling as well. Some scene changes had to be quick, and moving huge sets isn’t as easy as you think it would be. I am the leader on the left side of the stage, so when we didn’t completely complete the scene change on time, I would get disappointed. But with an awesome team and practice, we were able to pull it off.”

Source by Samarth Jani

Senior Andrew Canese, who stars as Bert, and incoming theater director Travis Youseff practice with the flying rig.

In addition to all the hard work and preparation that went into the production of the musical, it was also the last show for the seniors. This added extra pressure for them because in addition to the musical and being a student, they needed to plan for college. However, the most difficult task of all was saying goodbye. Many of the seniors involved put so much effort and years of their lives into the theater program, and this would be their last show at NHP.

“On one hand, I hate the idea that this is my last show,” Canese said. “The cast and crew behind our productions have become such close friends of mine, basically family. At the same time, the show went so incredibly well, and I had a blast putting it on with everyone, so there really isn’t a better way I could’ve wished to go out with my senior show.”

“I'm honestly very upset that this is my last show at NHP; it feels so bittersweet,” Kaur said. “I’ve been in the stage crew since seventh grade, and after six years, it’s become another family to me. Especially this year and last year, where I took on more of a leadership role backstage, I really felt so connected with everything and everyone, and it was exhilarating in the best possible way. I’m going to miss it so much.”

Source by Areej Zaidi

The cast of "Mary Poppins" closes out the show with a mashup of "Anything Can Happen" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

“I feel a little sad knowing that this is my last show at NHP Theater, but I’m mostly grateful when I look back at all the experiences I had,” Bansal said. “I’m so excited to pursue more shows like how we’ve had here in the future, and I wouldn’t have the courage to pursue anything anywhere close to what I am if it weren’t for the amazing and supportive community we have at NHP.”


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