The Ketchikan High School musical theater club is set to debut its first production of the school year on Friday and Saturday.
Directed by the Kayhi theater club's Bridget Mattson and First City Players Executive Director Elizabeth Nelson, "Mary Poppins JR." will feature a cast of about 14 Kayhi students.
The production is based on the stories of P.L Travers and the Walt Disney Film, according to a flyer for the show.
Kayhi culinary teacher Cameo McRoberts is assisting with the production, and spoke to the Daily News about the show on Tuesday morning.
"(The musical theater club has) been growing over the past few years as a theater club," said McRoberts. " ... We are trying very hard to create a little bit more of a presence of a drama program here at the high school."
"Mary Poppins JR." was chosen as the club's latest production due to the safety measures that came with it.
"A lot of the safety protocols chose the play for us, because we needed to make sure that we didn't have a lot of set changes, and try to keep on-stage sets at a minimum," McRoberts explained. "We're kind of using an abstract outline for our sets and really focusing on the cast and the students."
McRoberts said that the show also was selected due to available licensing, which were slightly loosened this year for high school students.
"Just this year, the licensing agency that we purchased the rights from was offering these junior programs because they're short, because they don't have an intermission," she said.
The show is referred to as a "junior" production because the script is condensed to include less dialogue and no intermission, while retaining all the music and plot, according to McRoberts.
The students have been rehearsing for the performance since early fall.
"They've been working on it since October, with a couple of hitches because of going to 50-50 (blended learning) model and some of our online stuff kind of disrupted the rehearsal process, so we decided to move it to February just to be safe and keep everybody else safe," McRoberts said.
And despite having to make adjustments, McRoberts said that the students have "done an awesome job" preparing for the show.
She said that the club has given the students a bit of camaraderie.
"I really think that creating a theater program obviously gives students just one more outlet to have kind of that high school experience that's really important," McRoberts explained. "(With) a lot of the students we've rubbed up against different sports and different academic stuff, but I think it's really great to just have another club where they're able to have some experience with theater, and as we know, theater is a great tool for kids. ... There's a whole lot of educational and social and other skills that are acquired doing theater."
The students, McRoberts said, are dedicated to putting on a performance.
She recalled the theater club's first performance last year, "The Addams Family," which had been canceled on opening night due to snowy conditions, giving it less time on the stage during the weeks after.
"So the kids that are in this club are dedicated to this club, and want to make it happen, through snowstorms and pandemics," McRoberts said, laughing. "They are really working to bring theater to Kayhi, and I think that's really cool to see."
The cast includes Paige Avila as Mary Poppins, Phillip Smith as Bert, Jayden Garrett in the role of Mrs. Banks, Ethan Thomas portraying Mr. Banks, Anne Paxton playing Jane Banks and Mason Avila as Michael Banks.
Additionally, the show will feature Madisen Lundamo as "chairman" and Miss Andrews, Shay Ohmer in the role of Ms. Brill, Kathryn Isner as bird woman and Roberta Aye, Judy Meiresonne as the characters Miss Corry and Von Hussler, Royce Waltson as Neelus and Mr. Northbrook, BethAnne Tacker as Katerina and ensemble, Emery Mattson as Miss Smythe and ensemble, and Hannon Alkhabi in the ensemble.
"Mary Poppins JR." will open at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the Kayhi auditorium, with another performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets can be purchased directly from First City Players by calling or messaging the organization.
As mitigation measures, there will be no lingering the lobby or intermission, and masks will be required. Seating will be organized by household or "social bubble," and temperature checks will be conducted at the door.