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Sandy Journal

Albion’s production of “Mary Poppins” ‘practically perfect in every way’

Feb 05, 2019 03:40PM ● By Julie Slama

Albion Middle School students performed “Practically Perfect” in their January production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

One of Mary Poppins’ most familiar quotes is “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

That may be true for the 120 Albion Middle School students who recently took part in this school year’s musical, “Mary Poppins Jr.”

“(I hope they gained) an enjoyment of musicals, a sense that they can do something bigger than themselves, an outlet to make friends, an understanding that hard work can be fun,” said Jenni Perkins, who directed the show along with Taylor Rowley and Alison Keddington. “I really want them to know that they can do hard things if they put their mind to it.”

Memorizing their lines, knowing their places on stage and learning the songs began after the auditions in October. Students were in rehearsals four hours weekly after school through December and increased those practices to eight hours per week in January, before the show was performed Jan. 24, 25, 28 and 29.

The leads included eighth-grader Rya Layton as Mary Poppins, eighth-grader Sam Ranck as Bert, eighth-grader Connor Poulsen as George Banks, eighth-grader Jade Smith as Winifred Banks, sixth-grader Eddie Gardner as Michael Banks and sixth-grader Marley Sokia as Jane Banks. 

The choreography was directed by Sofia Waugh and costumes were created by Emalee Brown.

While students pitched in to help the stage crew with moving props on and off stage, it was up to the crew to help with lights and other technical parts of the show. Perkins credits her “amazing sister” for painting the backdrops and said many props came from Canyons School District’s theater warehouse.

Perkins, who has directed the school musicals the past eight seasons, said students were able to use practical applications of what they learned in all of their math, science, English-language arts and history classes in a performing arts situation as well as other skills.

“They are learning a lot about teamwork; every person has to know and do their part every time or it just doesn’t work. They are learning responsibility as they have 100-plus other students counting on them,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for students to be part of a team, where truly every person matters.”

The musical was open to all students, not just those involved in music and theater.

“The arts, in general, are vital to developing a well-rounded student,” Perkins said. “Arts education gives students a chance to share part of who they are through whatever outlet they are using. They have to put a piece of themselves out there for others to see as they perform or share their talents. It’s a vulnerable place to be in where you could have people being critical of your work, but it makes you stronger as a person. Every student that sets foot on our stage, be it for the musical, for band, orchestra, choir or dance, they are sharing themselves with the world. To do that in a setting like an arts class can help them to build resiliency in their life moving forward. It gives them an outlet for creativity and for showing everyone who they are and who they can be.”

Those talents were extended to Quail Hollow students as they were given a matinee performance Jan. 22.

Perkins appreciates the musical’s message and hopes students learn from it.

“Sometimes things aren’t going right and you have control to make those changes ‘if you let it,’” she said. “We want our students to know they have that power within themselves to make their situation better.”