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Ursuline Academy's "Mary Poppins"

Review by Abby Fortney, Simon Kenton High School


Ursuline Academy's production of the Broadway musical "Mary Poppins" is practically perfect in every way. Ursuline Academy puts on a stunning, family-friendly performance that is of such amazing quality, one might just forget they aren't actually strolling down the streets of London or dancing on the roof tops.


"Mary Poppins" is a well-known story among both children and adults. Taking place in London in 1910, the story of "Mary Poppins" was originally written as a series of books by P.L. Travers in 1934. "Mary Poppins" focuses on the dysfunctional Banks family and their growth together as a family as a result of the arrival of the magical nanny, "Mary Poppins."


Ursuline Academy's, performance captivated the audience through their wonderful acting, flawless singing, and interaction with the audience. Although Ursuline Academy's production, as a whole, was simply magnificent, the show's beautifully enacted choreography truly shined above all other elements. Choreographers Kendra Burgei, Sara Wentzel, and Adrienne Kelly truly outdid themselves through a combination of basic, but enticing, dance steps as well as many intricate and enticing routines.


Actress Kendra Burgei also stood out in her lead role of Mary Poppins. Not only did she captivate the audience through her charmingly confident disposition in her portrayal of Mary Poppins, but she also stunned the audience through her extraordinarily impressive vocal range. Likewise, Will Sapp provided an overly convincing performance as George Banks. Will Sapp captured the assertive and hyper-critical demeanor of Mr.Banks seemingly effortlessly and was also able to portray his growth and development as a character to the audience.


Moreover, the supporting cast of this production stood out as well. In particular, Bert, played by Sara Wentzel, was most definitely an audience favorite. Sara Wentzel provided a very convincing and compelling performance as she wowed the audience through her extraordinary stage presence and impressive vocals. Similarly, Michael, played by Mia Prasinos, brought an element of humor to the show through her witty comments, amusing line delivery, and clever facial expressions.


The technical elements of this show cannot go without mention either. The set and design teams really outdid themselves through the creation of many clever, convincing, and easily convertible pieces. These pieces allowed for smooth yet elaborate scene changes to take place quickly.


Overall, Ursuline Academy's production of "Mary Poppins" left all who saw it feeling as though they'd swallowed a spoonful of sugar long after curtain.


Review by Ellie Lewis, Mariemont High School


Ursuline Academy's wondrous production of the musical "Mary Poppins" was as sweet and lovely as a spoonful of sugar.


The 1964 film, "Mary Poppins directed by Robert Stevenson, was an instant success. Starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, the film received five Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Andrews. The film has been preserved by the Library of Congress and deemed historically and culturally significant. To continue its legacy, the film has been thriving on the stage since 2004 and has now become of sentimental importance to all.


As a whole, the production was noteworthy. The robust cast demonstrated talent and depth and navigated the stage with ease during energetic numbers such as "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Step in Time". Some aspects had a new take, while others were presented with the comforting familiarity of the original story.


Kendra Burgei executed the lead role of Mary Poppins with poise and excellence. Burgei's articulate delivery of lines, punctuated with outstanding vocals in-between, rounded out for a terrific performance. Will Saap in the role of George Banks was perfectly stern for his role, while also showcasing character development with ease.


The supporting role of Bert, who was played by Sara Wentzel, was truly outstanding. Taking on a role of opposite gender, Wentzel made it her own and nailed the iconic character with every "Chim Chimney" reprise. Ella Skolnicki and Mia Prasinos, in the roles of children Jane and Michael, carried the production with their playful spirits and were accompanied by Annie Farkas and Mary Wilkins in the roles of Winifred Banks and Miss Andrew.


Tech has much to be proud of. Clean scene transitions (made efficient by a flexible and intelligent set design) and prompt cues facilitated the success of the show. Most notable, tech was able to parallel Mary Poppins scene of flying in the air, by a harness and pulley system, leaving all in wonder.


Overall, Ursuline Academy's production of "Mary Poppins" was exciting, lively, and practically perfect in every single way.


Review by Tierney Rasmussen, Mariemont High School


The Banks Family seemed to be plagued by problems but that all changed when the wind blew Mary Poppins to their door. Ursuline Academy's talented actors, singers, and dancers, did an amazing job in their production of "Mary Poppins."


In the classic musical "Mary Poppins," an unorthodox nanny comes into the Bank Family's life. Through her unusual methods, Mary Poppins teaches the Banks how to function as a family.


Ursuline Academy's production was made great by their talented leads and ensemble. The show was presented with the unique challenge of having a mostly female cast. However, Ursuline Academy's students rose to the occasion and showcased their diverse range of abilities. Additionally, the crew did an amazing job of maximizing their limited space to allow for as many sets as possible.


The show's lead actor and actress were incredibly talented. The lead actress, Kendra Burgei, embodied Mary Poppins from her jovial demeanor, right down to the iconic flying pose with her umbrella. Burgei's outstanding singing ability was showcased in the song "Brimstone and Treacle Revisited". "Mary Poppins" lead actor, Will Sapp, who played George Banks, was also featured as the male vocalist for his amazing singing abilities.


The supporting cast did a phenomenal job in "Mary Poppins". The supporting actress, Sara Wenzel, was absolutely sensational in her performance as Bert. Wentzel's noteworthy singing, acting, and dancing secured her as a triple threat. Another fantastic singer was the female vocalist Annie Farkas, who played Winifred Banks. Adrienne Kelly (female dancer) was an incredible dancer, and should be noted for her performance in "Jolly Holiday."


The technical aspects of this production were exceptional. The costumes were accurate to the time period and should be applauded for the quick change during "Jolly Holiday." The set pieces were also very functional. Ursuline Academy has a smaller-than-average stage which the tech crew did an amazing job compensating for. Every set piece served multiple functions in the show. The students also operated the fly rigging for both Mary and Bert. Many technical aspects went into making Ursuline Academy's production as great as it is.

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" doesn't even begin to describe Ursuline Academy's production of "Mary Poppins."


Excerpts from Top Reviews


“Kendra Burgei achieved a perfect balance between a strict disciplinary figure and an enchanting mystical role model. Burgei's vocals were lovely and brilliantly reflected the whimsical aspect of Mary Poppins. Will Sapp, who played George Banks, managed to capture the proud nature of Mr. Banks while simultaneously showing his progression from a strict businessman to a family-"focused individual.”

-Anna Nappi, Saint Ursula Academy


Along with the actors' stellar performance, the technical elements were on-point. The Stage Manager, Caitlin Boutwell, along with her assistant stage managers, Carly Glover, Morgan Hatter, Dani Huber, Kailey Peppard, and their crew kept the scene changes short and sweet. Using a foldable set, built by Nicole Magliocco and Crew, was efficient and easy to use, easily cutting down on the lengthy transitions the show typically has.”

-Anna Fuson, William Mason High School


Perhaps one of the most magical people in the show was Sara Wentzel, as she fearlessly tackles challenges in her performance as Bert, during the iconic number "Step in Time." Wentzel boldly flew over the chimneys while completing a brilliant acrobatics routine, in addition to her superb singing and impressive dancing. Wentzel brilliantly embodied the beloved Bert of our childhood while facing challenges that come with playing a gender-bent character.”

-Sarah Burwinkel, William Mason High School


Along with the wonderful acting was the astonishing technical aspects from the onstage sets, makeup, hair, and costumes to the offstage lights, sound, and moving crew. Moreover, although there were a few times the mics went in and out, they recovered quickly. The sets were creatively minimized from the original version to fit the stage and move easily. The costumes, hair, and makeup matched the characters and scenes perfectly.”

-Alex Mastin, Simon Kenton High School


George and Winifred Banks, played by Will Sapp and Annie Farkas, had good chemistry on stage and the Banks children, Jane (Ella Skolinicki ) and Michael (Mia Prasinos ) created the perfect sibling relationship paired with comedic moments.”

-Logham Currin, Simon Kenton High School


Adding to the fantasy of the story, the well- thought-out hair and makeup plots were very true to each character, especially for the difficult task of male characters played by females. One of the most magnificent feats of the entire show was the use of a flying system that brought Mary into the air during her "Au Revoir" at the end of act one and let Bert do mid-air flips during "Step in Time".”

-Annika Halonen, Seven Hills School


Kendra Burgei gives an amazing portrayal of the world-renowned Mary Poppins. As Burgei flies onto the stage in various scenes, she is in the classic Poppins pose with her magical bag on her side, umbrella above her head, and toes pointed outward. She uses her impressively high vocals and English accent to transform into her own version of the classic character.”

-Kylie Davis, Taylor High School



About The Cappies of Greater Cincinnati

The Critics and Awards Program strives to recognize Greater Cincinnati’s talented community of young writers, performers, and technical crews. High school theatre and journalism students who participate in the Cappies program are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, and write and publish reviews. At the end of the school year, the student critics vote to give awards to their fellow students for outstanding productions, group and individual performances, and achievements in technical categories. Awards are presented at the annual Cappies Gala. Find more reviews at CinciCap.com/reviews.

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