In early March, Windsor Knolls Middle School treated the community to a wonderful production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” directed by Ulyssa Martinez with Assistant Director/Crew Manager Kelsey Clark, Choreographer Brenda Puderbaugh and Musical Director Audrey Lynch. The snow did not stop the cast and crew. They adapted and overcame!
As the cast prepared backstage, putting the final touches on makeup, hair and costumes, the crowd began to arrive. Not many people can imagine more than 90 middle school students and envision an amazing musical, but Windsor Knolls produced just that.
The music was catchy, the cast became their characters (accents included) and the costumes were wonderful.
The audience saw a side of many students not visible in the classroom or everyday life. Theatre and the musical “Mary Poppins Jr.” gave the students an outlet to be someone else, to explore music, dancing or crew.
This was Director Martinez’s sixth musical at Windsor Knolls. She hopes that students’ “biggest takeaway from theatre arts is confidence. I want them to leave the program feeling proud of themselves and a little more comfortable with who they are. It takes a lot to perform in front of others, whether it is on a stage in front of 200-plus people or in our classroom in front of 20-plus peers, and I hope that every experience they have on stage performing builds them up.”
Miss Martinez said that her great hope for her students is “to continue to develop their gifts. Middle school is such a pivotal moment in our lives, and sometimes, it can make or break a student’s dreams and aspirations. I wish for my students to always explore their creativity, so they may continue to share their gifts with others.”
Audience members can attest—she achieved that and more. As students closed their last show, the pride and joy on their faces conveyed that they were taking home memories they would never forget. They feel stronger and more confident in knowing that not only were they able to get on stage, but they were able to share and spread the love of music and theatre to the community with help and guidance from volunteers, directors and other community members.
In the words of Mary Poppins, “Go and chase your dreams. You won’t regret it. Anything can happen … if you let it.”