Underclassmen cast in lead roles; new choreographer teaches fast-paced routines

March 15, 2018 — by Colleen Feng and Anishi Patel

As March draws to an end, the opening night of the spring musical nears, and preparations are picking up speed.

This year’s musical is the Disney classic “Mary Poppins,” with senior Hannah Julie Yoon playing the lead role and title character.

The cast is preparing for their ambitious performance, which will include special effects, multiple songs and plenty of dance numbers. And, for the first time in spring musical history, the show will include a flying actress. “Mary Poppins” will be showing in the McAfee Center on April 27 and May 4-5 at 7:30 p.m., as well as on April 29 and May 5 at 2 p.m.

This year, the spring musical cast includes an unusually large number of underclassmen. Sophomore Natalie Tjahjadi has been cast as Jane, one of the children Mary Poppins is charged with taking care of.

“When I was a freshman, I was lucky to get one line in the whole play,” Tjahjadi said. “As an underclassmen going into auditions, I never expected to get such a large role.”

Additionally, freshmen Chloe Hsieh and Christopher Linney have been cast in primary roles as Mrs. Corry and Michael, respectively.

Even with these underclassmen in prominent roles, the musical has plenty of upperclassmen playing important characters  as well. Senior Mateusz Kranz, who has been a part of the drama program since his freshman year, has been cast as the male lead, Bert, a happy-go-lucky chimney sweep who is Mary Poppins’ closest friend.

Kranz has also been taking singing lessons to prepare for his role.

“There are more people [in the cast] who are interested in singing and dancing, so it makes me pumped,” Kranz said.

The drama program has a new dance choreographer for this year’s musical, Claire Alexander, and according to sophomore Ritika Kuppam, her style greatly differs from the previous choreographer’s techniques.

“Our previous teacher had a slower and simpler style,” Kuppam said. “The new choreography is really fast and it’s harder for all of us to remember. We’re putting in a lot of effort.”

The cast is attending 2-4 hour rehearsals every day after school and is spending extra time at home to learn the new choreography and numerous songs.

“The tickets are really inexpensive, and it’s definitely a unique show,” Kuppam said. “‘Mary Poppins’ is so much fun for kids especially, so please bring all your friends and family out to watch!”


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