Actors learning how to fly

Audiences exiting Northgate High School's spring musical production of "Mary Poppins" will leave the auditorium with more than just the lyrics of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" lodged in their minds.

They'll also have visions of Laken Burns, portraying Mary Poppins, in full flight across the stage, as well as other students performing some athletically demanding choreography throughout the show.

Of course, Laken will have some help in navigating Mary's flight, that coming from "Flying by Foy," a company based in Las Vegas, with offices in London, and Philadelphia.

"This is the company that designed and installed the flying for the Mary Poppins on Broadway," said show director, Karen Klicker.

The rigging that will accommodate the flights was installed on the Northgate stage this past Monday. "We had a closed rehearsal with just the flyers and operators. R.J Scala., our Foy flying director, worked with me and with our choreographer, Kait Mausser and our stage manager, Amy White, to fine-tune all the movements, positioning of sets, and issues of timing and planning for assistants to help on stage connections. Everything is very precise, with safety and the need to create the illusion of magical happenings carefully balanced," Klicker said.

Klicker said that a group of parents and community volunteers, as well as Jeff Smith, the technical director, helped with the installation.

"All operators must be trained over two evenings, when they will learn to run both the lift and the traveling portion of the apparatus, for all five flights. These are the only people allowed to handle the equipment. The harnesses that the students wear are custom-fitted and the three actors are the only people allowed to use harnesses or to fly on the equipment."

The show will have a senior citizen preview on Friday, March 20, with doors open at 5:45 p.m. for a 6 p.m. curtain. The show also will run Saturday, March 21, Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, with a 7:30 p.m. curtain. There also will be a children's show with activities and food, beginning at 4:45 p.m, with curtain at 6 p.m. on March 26.


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