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The Barn's production of 'Mary Poppins' begins tonight

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Matthew Schiller is Bert and Jeannie Reid is Mary Poppins in The Barn Theatre’s production of “Mary Poppins,” based on the Academy Award-winning Disney musical, opening tonight in downtown Willmar. (PHOTOS BY RAND MIDDLETON)2 / 4
Chimney Sweeps Lyle Mangen, from left, Noah Eckhoff and Melissa Mangen rehearse a scene from The Barn Theatre’s production of “Mary Poppins.” The play opens tonight in downtown Willmar.3 / 4
Michael Banks and Jane Banks, center, played here by Anthony Buzzeo, left, and Emma Villnow, are joined at the “Conversation Counter” by Mary Poppins, center left, and Mrs. Corry, played by Christina Nelson, center right, among others, in “Mary Poppins.”4 / 4

WILLMAR — “Mary Poppins,” the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious international hit musical, opens tonight at The Barn Theatre in Willmar.

The Barn has set an unusual schedule for this production. It runs daily from tonight through Wednesday, takes a week off and then has the final five shows during Willmar Fests week, Wednesday, June 22, through Sunday, June 26. Weekday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays.

The musical is based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film. It is not a direct adaptation of the Disney film, but features elements of the film and the original books, plus original updated elements.

The musical places more emphasis on Jane and Michael being naughty and their parents being dysfunctional. Jane and Michael are constantly talking back and fighting, necessitating a sequence where Mary (it is implied) causes the toys in their nursery to come to life and berate them in the song “Playing the Game.”

George Banks has been expanded from the film: in the musical it is revealed that he had a difficult childhood in which he was ignored by his parents (Jane and Michael’s paternal grandparents) and was placed under the care of a fearsome nanny.

This nanny, Miss Andrew, makes an appearance in the musical as the polar opposite of Mary Poppins, advocating “brimstone and treacle” instead of “a spoonful of sugar.”

Jeannie Reid plays Mary Poppins in The Barn’s production and Matthew Schiller is Bert. The roles of George and Winifred Banks are played by Tim Ostby and Carol Meier.

Jane Banks is played by Cecilia Buzzeo and Emma Villnow, while Isaac Larson and Anthony Buzzeo play Michael Banks. (Because of the number of shows and the demands of these roles, there are doubles for Jane and Michael.)

If you go

Dates: Today through Wednesday, and June 22-26

Time: 7:30 p.m., except Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets: Adults $20, students $10; call 320-235-9500 or online at thebarntheatre.com

Location: The Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W., downtown Willmar

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