Q1: What is your first memory of seeing “Mary Poppins”?
My very first memory of “Mary Poppins” was when I was in grade school, and movies were shown at the drive in, or because I was a California Kid and Disneyland/Hollywood were near, the local library received reels of the current Disney films. My older sisters or our Mom took me to the special screenings. That’s where I saw many Disney films, including “Mary Poppins”.
Q2: What role do you play?
I LOVE musicals, and being asked to portray Mrs. Corey has been a delight! I’m super excited about the pageantry of the costume, the Island accent I was encouraged to create for the character and just the shear spectacle of color that is taking place on stage during the infamous SUPER CAL number.
Q3: What was the funnest moment of the rehearsal process for “Mary Poppins”?
Charleston Stage rehearsals are usually a hoot from beginning to end. The wonky letters that spell out that fabulous word could easily get the cast into some questionable staging if not careful, where inadvertent spelling of questionable words worthy of censorship, and not meant to be seen by all audiences. The entire cast is comprised of a completely zany group, but I would have to say Andrea Rausch (Bird Woman) keeps me in stitches.
Q4: Where are you originally from?
The first 1/3rd of my life was spent in sunny Southern California. In many ways I am still a slightly brown “Valley Girl.” My parents then decided that migrating back East to their childhood home in Mississippi was a bright idea. I did my penance there, graduated high school, and put in a semester at a small community college. Then I made my escape by way of the military. Fast forward through my 20’s, and 30’s and I’ve been a 22+ year resident of Charleston, while raising one daughter and sending her off to college last Fall 2015. I try to travel as much as I can afford to, to visit with my “looks too young for 78-year-old” Mother, my oldest sister outside Dallas, TX, and my middle sister and younger brother, who are now new residents of Las Vegas, NV, my college daughter and all of my other extended family.
Q5: How did you get involved with theatre?
During middle school, my music teacher approached my mother and convinced her that I should receive voice lessons. All the time in both high school and college: music and performing were my escape, transporting me to places that looked nothing like “small town” MS. An error in scheduling kept me out of chorus during my Freshman year of high school, but that never happened again. My tuition and fees when I attended college were supplemented by a partial performing arts scholarship. Good times.
A genuine love of singing and music from childhood, and an early introduction to music and theater, led me to the shows and the roles that I’ve been blessed to have. I am super stoked about this part, especially now that I have a full circle understanding of the cliché that “There really are NO small parts… just small actors…” I continue to learn something from everyone that I have the opportunity to be around, whether director, stage manager, music director, choreographer or fellow actors.
Q6: Tell us about other theatre experiences.
Back in 2012, a wonderful friend and theater mentor, Henry C. Middleton, graciously invited me to the “Porgy and Bess” audition, and then somehow convinced the panel to cast me in the ensemble. On the afternoon of our final Sunday matinee of “Porgy and Bess”, the beautiful opera written about Charleston, and performed for the very first time ever on the Dock Street Stage, we strolled down the sidewalk to a cast party. Henry implored me to continue with being involved with theater. One day in 2013, to my surprise I received an email informing me of the auditions for Charleston Stage’s “Gershwin at Folly”. My theater experiences really feel as if they have taken off to another level, just in the last 4 years, especially since becoming involved with Charleston Stage.
Q7: Do you get to fly in “Mary Poppins”?
No, but I’m excited for Resident Actors Nathan Burke (Bert) and Carin Lagerberg (Mary Poppins) who will be doing the tap dancing while flying, and the magnificently choreographed ensemble tap and dance numbers as a whole. What the director, designers, stage engineers, costumers, and crew are able to create is simply magic!
Charleston Stage’s “Mary Poppins” continues running April 21 – May 1, 2016, at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, call (843) 577-7183 or purchase online by clicking here.
Featured Center Right: Letty Clay as Mrs. Corey in “Mary Poppins”.
Featured: The cast of “Mary Poppins” perform “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.