MERIDEN — For most students, the many snow days this winter have been a welcome break from class, but for the students getting ready for the Maloney High School spring musical, it meant less and less practice time.
“We made sure to put in the work and the extra rehearsals and we got together,” said sophomore Lia Cruz, who is playing the musical’s namesake role, “Mary Poppins.”
The students even faced the possibility of another snow day Wednesday, just one day before opening night. But senior Sydney Bednarz echoed other students when she said the cast’s work ethic has changed drastically to keep up.
“We’re all just ready for it and it’s coming together well,” Bednarz said.
The show opens Thursday with a 7 p.m. performance, and runs through Sunday, with a 2 p.m. show added on Saturday. Tickets are available on the Maloney Music Department’s website.
The school’s production of the well-known classic, “Mary Poppins,” will be director David Pelletier’s first time using “stage magic.”
“The script is very different from the film, but in the same sense there are a lot of similarities in terms of the magic,” Pelletier said, referring to the tricks parents and students came up with to make it look like Mary Poppins is pulling large objects out of her bag magically or have a kitchen set get destroyed and put back together.
“I’m just looking forward to watching the audience and seeing their reaction to the magic and to the flight, and of course the songs are iconic,” Pelletier said.
Maloney students had the the opportunity to “fly” for the first time during a school production last year, in “Peter Pan.” This year, the audience will see Cruz and junior Josh Medina as “Burt” seemingly float, fly, and flip across the stage.
“I walk up the wall, I go upside down, I go across and then a couple flips down,” Medina said. “I have to use all my core, which is different than anything I’ve done before.”
Cruz had some experience flying in “Peter Pan,” but said although, her special moment at the end of the show was frightening the first time, she and the parent volunteers on the other end of the harness have gotten used to it.
“It’s really magical, just going up — I feel a lot like (Mary Poppins),” Cruz said.
Brooke Lathe, a sophomore in the role of Mrs. Banks, agreed saying, “I think the kids are really going to think that they’re flying and it’s gonna be something that they’re not going to forget.”
For several of the leads, tapping into their complex characters was a challenge in this production, but something they said they can take into future roles.
“This character has been the hardest I’ve had to do, to get into ‘Mary Poppins,’ because we’re just so different, personality-wise and just how we present ourselves,” Cruz said, referring to the unwavering confidence of the character.
Although for Bednarz and sophomore Giana Cagna, playing the Banks children was easy because they’re still kids themselves.
Cagna said come Thursday, she’s excited to perform the story of “Mary Poppins” for all the little kids that might not be familiar with it yet.
“Seeing the smile on kids’ faces just makes me light up, that’s, like, one of the main things I love about doing this,” Cagna said.