Hartfield Spring Musical: Mary Poppins

Audiences certainly didn't need a spoonful of sugar to enjoy this year's Spring Musical production of Mary Poppins! The first weekend of May held a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious treat as many members of the Hartfield community delighted in each of the four shows directed by Drama Instructor Blakeney Hatcliff and performed by a talented bunch of young thespians. Ms. Hatcliff and our two Mary Poppins leads, JM Holmes and Sarah Sunday Holmes, gave us a peek behind the curtain at this year's Spring Musical experience.
"This year, we intentionally went into preparation with a thankful and a "let's have fun" mindset.  After the last year and a half, I wanted us to truly enjoy what we were doing and not focus too much on perfection," said Hatcliff when asked about the preparation process for this year's Spring Musical. 

Hatcliff continued, "While this didn't mean we lowered standards, it does mean we took the time to celebrate the small victories and enjoy each moment along the way. The result has been many fun memories and a cast that has turned into a family. "
The lead of this year's musical, Sarah Sunday Holmes, told us that portraying Mary Poppins was one her favorite Hartfield Academy experiences so far. "The whole cast was amazing and the crew held us together! We all helped each other find our inner characters, and, in return, we were all so much better than what we would have come up with on our own."

Still new to Hartfield, Sarah Sunday was most excited to make friends. "This is my first semester at Hartfield Academy and so it was nice to meet others from the school who shared common interests with me!" 

JM Holmes, playing the role of Bert, was equally excited to meet the cast and take on a new experience. "Until Mary Poppins, I had never played a lead role in a play," said JM. "While I thought it would be hard to learn all the lines, music, and choreography, it was actually not bad because I enjoyed doing it and learning the stuff with everyone else. The hardest part, though, was gaining the confidence to stand in front of an audience each night." Through his understandable nerves, JM brought his musicality and cheerful disposition to sweep away audiences as Mary Poppins's chimneysweep sidekick.

Though Sarah Sunday was able to pick up the singing portion of Mary Poppins, she admits that the choreography was "a bit of a struggle at times". "Even though I had some difficulty at first, I am so glad I persevered, because the musical cast and I got to put out an amazing show!" 

The entire cast and crew of Mary Poppins poured their hearts into every line, dance step, and stage blocking. When opening night came, each cast member stood ready to bring every bit of what they had prepared after weeks of preparation. See full cast list with cast bios here.

"Before we did the play on Thursday night, I remember being confident in the fact that no matter what our group would have a fun time performing it," adds JM. "The musical turned out to be a great success, but the family atmosphere created between the group, Mrs. Hatcliff, and Mrs. Laura (the choreographer) was the best part. I would definitely recommend anyone wanting to be a part to do the musical next year!"

Of the bond formed between cast members this Spring, Mrs. Hatcliff shared, "I'm most proud of the way each cast member did what they could to build up their peers. There was a true team mentality throughout the entire process that has continued even now that rehearsals are over. Watching students from different walks of life become friends and encourage each other is such a huge part of why I do what I do!"

As the cast and crew of Mary Poppins finishes another school year after months of hard work, we hope these words from Bert to the Banks children stick with them: “What did I tell ya? There’s the whole world at your feet."
Hartfield Academy is fully accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Southern Association of independent Schools (SAIS).