Zionsville West’s Casciani tackles challenge of playing ’Mary Poppins’

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Zionsville West Middle School eighth-grader Isabel Casciani embraces the title role of “Mary Poppins” for multiple reasons.

“I think it’s a cool role because on the surface she seems like a perfect nanny,” Casciani said. “She is actually quirky. It’s cool to step in the shoes of someone who is almost magical. It’s really fun. I also like the time the musical is set in. It’s fun to step back in the time and pretend to be in England.”

Front, from left, Jack Kessler as Bert, Abigail McClure as Jane Banks and Isabel Casciani as Mary Poppins. Back, Charles March-Gibson as Neleus. (Photo by Roger Manning)

Zionsville West will present “Mary Poppins Jr.” March 13-14 at the school. Performances are 7 p.m. March 13 and 2 and 7 p.m. March 14.

“The accent is tough, but luckily I have British (maternal) grandparents and they were able to help with that,” Casciani said. “I have an ear for it, luckily.”

This is the first time she has attempted a British accent on stage.

Another challenge is breath support with singing.

“It’s tough breathing with the songs,” Casciani said.

Casciani appeared in the title role of Christian Youth Theater’s production of “Peter Pan” in February. She played Fiona in Jr. Civic Theatre’s production of “Shrek, the Musical” in June 2019.

“Mary Poppins” is one of Casciani’s favorites. She enjoys the 1964 Disney movie starring Julie Andrews in the title role.

“My parents never really liked to watch it because it’s so long, but I always insisted on watching the movie,” she said. “I really liked Julie Andrews when I was little. I’ve seen it a few times with my friends in it. I saw it at Civic Theatre. My good friend (Ben Kistner) played Michael Banks (in the 2018-19 season).”

Choral Director Julianne Boyd, who is directing the school musical for the second time, said the students are excited about the production.

“With the recent arrival of the second movie, ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ the original heart-warming story is fresh and alive once again,” she said. “It is also a great show for our varying age range of fifth- to eight-grade students. There are kid and adult roles that allow students across all grades to have leading roles, which is not always the case with some musicals.”

This is the first time Zionsville West has done the musical.

“We chose ‘Mary Poppins Jr.’ because of the large cast size and to contrast with the musical style and time period of last year’s show,” said Boyd, referring to “High School Musical.” “We’ve had so much with the accents and telling the story of Jane and Michael Banks’ lives in London. The biggest challenge of this show has been how big it is. Everything from the music to the set to the costumes has been such a labor of love.

“Thankfully, we have a very supportive school community and parent volunteers that have gone above and beyond to help create this beautiful production.”

Seating is general admission only. Ticket sales begin one hour before each show. They are $5 for students, $8 for adults and $25 for families.

Zionsville West Middle School eighth-grader Isabel Casciani embraces the title role of “Mary Poppins” for multiple reasons.

“I think it’s a cool role because on the surface she seems like a perfect nanny,” Casciani said. “She is actually quirky. It’s cool to step in the shoes of someone who is almost magical. It’s really fun. I also like the time the musical is set in. It’s fun to step back in the time and pretend to be in England.”

Zionsville West will present “Mary Poppins Jr.” March 13-14 at the school. Performances are 7 p.m. March 13 and 2 and 7 p.m. March 14.

“The accent is tough, but luckily I have British (maternal) grandparents and they were able to help with that,” Casciani said. “I have an ear for it, luckily.”

This is the first time she has attempted a British accent on stage.

Another challenge is breath support with singing.

“It’s tough breathing with the songs,” Casciani said.

Casciani appeared in the title role of Christian Youth Theater’s production of “Peter Pan” in February. She played Fiona in Jr. Civic Theatre’s production of “Shrek, the Musical” in June 2019.

“Mary Poppins” is one of Casciani’s favorites. She enjoys the 1964 Disney movie starring Julie Andrews in the title role.

“My parents never really liked to watch it because it’s so long, but I always insisted on watching the movie,” she said. “I really liked Julie Andrews when I was little. I’ve seen it a few times with my friends in it. I saw it at Civic Theatre. My good friend (Ben Kistner) played Michael Banks (in the 2018-19 season).”

Choral Director Julianne Boyd, who is directing the school musical for the second time, said the students are excited about the production.

“With the recent arrival of the second movie, ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ the original heart-warming story is fresh and alive once again,” she said. “It is also a great show for our varying age range of fifth- to eight-grade students. There are kid and adult roles that allow students across all grades to have leading roles, which is not always the case with some musicals.”

This is the first time Zionsville West has done the musical.

“We chose ‘Mary Poppins Jr.’ because of the large cast size and to contrast with the musical style and time period of last year’s show,” said Boyd, referring to “High School Musical.” “We’ve had so much with the accents and telling the story of Jane and Michael Banks’ lives in London. The biggest challenge of this show has been how big it is. Everything from the music to the set to the costumes has been such a labor of love.

“Thankfully, we have a very supportive school community and parent volunteers that have gone above and beyond to help create this beautiful production.”

Seating is general admission only. Ticket sales begin one hour before each show. They are $5 for students, $8 for adults and $25 for families.


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