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A ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ Show: RPCT’s magic-filled ‘Mary Poppins’ continues this week

RESERVE — Shelves that fall and come back into place and self-decorating cakes are just a few of the magical elements included in River Parish Community Theater’s production of Mary Poppins, a show so grand, audiences will find it hard to believe they are sitting in a school gymnasium.

Chrissy Carter Cifuentes plays the leading role of Mary Poppins, and she said teamwork has guided the show from the initial set designing to seamless on-stage costume changes on Monday’s opening night.

The threat of severe weather from Hurricane Barry altered the show schedule, which now runs at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) through Saturday night at St. Peter Catholic School in Reserve. There will also be a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday, organizers said.

Mary Poppins has never been performed for River Region audiences prior to this week, according to Cifuentes. In the show, Mary Poppins takes young Jane and Michael on many magical adventures, and even adults can learn a thing or two from the nanny who advises, “Anything can happen if you let it.”

“I think this show is so phenomenal because it’s very challenging,” Cifuentes said. “It’s giving all of the actors and actresses a chance to heighten their talent. It’s great because it’s so professionally done. To know there is this level of theater in the River Parishes done not by Broadway professionals but by average people who have day jobs and lives — to know they can give a show of this caliber is unreal.”

From left, Stella Pourciau, Ellie McCrossen, Kade Olivier, Tristan Olivier, Kacey Beadle, Bethany Cantrelle, Reygan Joseph and Brea Bailey are among the youngest members of the Mary Poppins cast.

Jaret Treas, who plays Bert in the show, has colleagues drive in from Mandeville, Baton Rouge and New Orleans to see the annual summer shows.

“They cannot believe this is happening in a little town called Reserve,” Treas said. “This is a Saengar type production. It’s the best $20 ticket in town.”

Treas took up acting at 9 years old but took a nearly decade-long break after getting married and having children. Once his daughter, Gabrielle, was old enough to feel the draw toward the stage, the family returned to River Parish Community Theatre for Shrek: The Musical in 2016.

“Now I remember what I missed,” Treas said. “It’s just very exhilarating.”

Cifuentes also took a break from acting after getting married, but she agrees that the passion never dies. She returned to River Parish Community Theatre last year for the wildly successful Beauty and the Beast production, the first sold out show in the community theater’s history.

RPCT Board President Sean Roussel said the goal for this year isn’t to replicate the success of Beauty and the Beast, but to show Mary Poppins in its own light.

“People that are 70 and 80 years old are going to know the songs, just like kids who are 8 and 9 years old,” Roussel said. “ They might not know ‘Super Cal’ and ‘A Spoonful of Sugar,’ are from Mary Poppins, but it’s something they’ve heard before. Our audience goes from all ages, just like our cast goes from ages 10 to 72.”

Meticulously prepared special effects will leave the audience in awe, according to Roussel, who said every RPTC production adds a special spin. He said it’s incredible to watch actors and actresses bond through all the work that goes into every show.

“From the walls to the set, every piece up there is built and painted by this group,” Roussel said. “That’s the journey for us, and it’s remarkable to see.”

Director Darryl P. Clement said offering a matinee and an evening show on the same day is a first for the local area.

Chrissy Carter Cifuentes and Jaret Treas star in the 2019 summer production as Mary Poppins and Bert.

The Mary Poppins cast includes Cifuentes as Mary Poppins, Treas as Bert, Roussel as George Banks, Tammi Marshall as Winifred Banks, Hartley Faucheux as Jane Banks, Kade Olivier as Michael Banks, Scarlett Pourciau as Katie Nanna, Drake Boudwin as Policeman, Ann LeBlanc as Miss Lark, Marissa Laurent as Mrs. Brill, Luke Boucvalt as Robertson Ay, Luis Cifuentes as Park Keeper, Ali Vicknair as Neleus, Aaron Ford as Bank Chairman, Cobi Smith as Miss Smythe, Kaleb Waguespack as Von Hussler, Tyler Palermo as Northbrook, Cary Berthelot as Bird Woman, Marcy Krueger as Mrs. Corry, Madeline Core as Fannie, Gabrielle Treas as Annie, Mallory Commander as Dannie, Jackson Scott as Valentine and Trista Brazan as Miss Andrew.

The ensemble includes Tyler Palermo, Kaleb Waguespack, Drake Boudwin, Madeline Core, Mallory Commander, Gabrielle Treas, Ali Vicknair, Zack Vicknair, Aaron Ford, Jackson Scott, Marcy Krueger, Scarlett Pourciau, Stella Pourciau,  Candace Hoover, Jace Hoover, Brandon Boudwin, Luis Cifuentes, Ann Leblanc, Trista Brazan, Coran Johnson, Trinity Hill, Emma Wale, Kacey Beadle, Brea Bailey, Ava Young, Ava Greichgauer, Carl Freeman Jr., Zoe Labit, Cleo Dupre, Ellie McCrossen, Reygan Joseph, Bethany Cantrelle, Cobi Smith, Gavin Bunch, Romell Johnson and Tristan Olivier.

For more information, please see the RPCT website at riverparishtheatre.org and follow RPCT on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.