On Stage: RB Productions to perform ‘Mary Poppins’

“Winds from the east, mist coming in, like something’s a brewin’, about to begin.”

And for weeks, something has been brewin’ at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

RB Productions will be presenting a mainstage production of Mary Poppins this week.

Amid the rain and mist of last week, two of the leads discussed the musical and the work behind it.

Candace Gatzoulis of Manchester will play the title role of Mary. Andrew Gibson of Manchester will co-star as Bert.

Gatzoulis is a music and drama teacher at David Cawley Middle School in Hooksett. She most recently appeared on stage as the Woman in A Story that Cuts like a Knife with theatre Kapow and Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray with Peacock Players.

As a teacher, summer theater is a good opportunity to do something over the break. And with RB Productions’s cast ranging in age from 6 to seniors, she can perform with her daughter, Kyla. She auditioned thinking she might be more of a Mrs. Banks, but was excited and surprised to be cast as Mary Poppins because she gets to dance.

Gibson works for a manufacturer of ergonomic equipment. He most recently took the stage in A Christmas Carol with N.H. Theatre Factory and as Lloyd Dallas in Noises Off with the Manchester Community Theatre Players.

Gibson grew up in Weare and was in an RB Productions show 13 years ago. Through his recent appearance in A Christmas Carol, he reconnected with Clint Klose, artist director of RB. Klose encouraged Gibson to audition.

He got in and was able to check something else off his theater bucket list.

“I’ve always wanted to do a Disney show,” Gibson said.

The Mary Poppins musical is a story that combines music from the Disney film with elements of the P.L. Travers book.

“People expecting the movie will be surprised,” Gibson said.

Gatzoulis said she first saw the musical in New York with the London cast. She said she enjoyed the darker version that shows more of Mr. Bank’s struggle to be a good father and a businessman.

Another difference comes in the song “Supercalifragilistic.” Gibson said that in addition to the song, they have to spell out the term in the choreography.

“It moves at an incredible speed,” Gatzoulis added.

What won’t change is the aura of whimsy and magic of the story.

Gibson said that Mary and Bert don’t follow rules. While they never call it magic, life seems to bend to their will.

And yes, there will be flying.

Gatzoulis, who has never taken flight in a production before, said that element scares and excites her.

“The audience will be enchanted by the look and the talent,” Gatzoulis said.

The pair thought it was good timing to stage Mary Poppins due to renewed interest. Five years ago, the film Saving Mr. Banks told a backstory of Travers and Walt Disney working on the making of the Mary Poppins movie. And this December, Mary Poppins Returns will tell the story of a grown Jane and Michael, who is now a father to three children of his own.


Showtimes are Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Unlike RB Productions’s youth shows, there will be assigned seating. Tickets are $20 for students and seniors or $28 for adults.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit ccanh.com.

Author: Sarah Pearson / Monitor staff

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