PHS students flying

Actors in the upcoming Plymouth High School production of "Mary Poppins" will fly across stage for the first time in school history.

PHS musical takes flight with ‘Mary Poppins’

Posted February 19, 2024

Plymouth High School will be presenting “Mary Poppins” as its annual musical March 7-10, featuring some very exciting special effects – including flying characters!

“We are hiring a professional company to come in so that our main characters can fly on stage,” said vocal director Amanda Smith. “We are also using ‘magic’ props and set pieces to make illusions happen.”

“Mary Poppins,” written by Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman, is the story of a family whose children are out of control. When a mysterious young woman appears at their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to their prayers – but in the most peculiar way.

The show is based on the movie of the same name, but yet is quite different, Mrs. Smith said. “At the end of Act 1, the audience will be questioning themselves, because it really takes a left turn to focus more on the family dynamic in Act 2,” she said. “This is a more mature version, in my opinion.”

But she quickly added, “Don't worry – all of the fan favorites like ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ and ‘Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious’ are still in there. There’s still lots of magic to go around!”

A key part of that magic will take the form of characters flying on stage – a first for a PHS production. Mary Poppins (played by Grace Lambert and Jhadan Grucelski) and Bert (played by Zebidiah Schermacher and Max Halle) both will fly.

PHS has hired Vertigo Flying of Illinois, a professional rigging company, to handle the flights and ensure they are safe. Vertigo, which has been in the business since 1991, gives constant input to ANSI, the nonprofit organization that oversees product standards for performer rigging. “They are huge on risk analysis and risk reduction, and are looking to keep performers safe for every production,” Mrs. Smith said.

She expects the flights to add to the magic of the show. “I hope the little kids who come to watch it feel inspired, and we can have at least a couple of ‘wow’ moments from the audience,” she said.

The musical has been months in the making. The name of this year’s show was announced at Homecoming, and auditions were held in November. Acting and dancing rehearsals began in January. The crew began work on the set and the pit band began rehearsals early in February. 

The set for “Mary Poppins” is so big that the removable wall behind the stage has been opened so that pieces not being used can be stored in the adjoining Amphitheatre.

Nearly 100 students and 9 staff members are involved in the production, which is double-cast to allow more students a chance to be on stage. The PHS Technical Education department is building specialty set pieces, and PHS art students are helping with set painting.

“We knew that to put on a show of this caliber it would cost more than the average show, but we have done a good job saving up over the past decade – and have the talent from the students, a great directing staff, and the budget to put on an amazing show,” Mrs. Smith said.

Performances will begin at 7 p.m. nightly from Thursday March 7 through Saturday March 9, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday March 10, in the school auditorium, 125 S. Highland Ave. Reserved-seating tickets are $10 and are available from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the PHS office (enter Door 1G), as well as at the door.

Learn more:
• Explore The Arts section of our interactive, award-winning District Report Card to learn more about the extensive and varied performance opportunities available to our students.


Cast & Crew


Vocal director: Amanda Smith
Acting director: Jack Colombo
Choreographer: Carter Krzyzaniak

When two names are listed, first is Thursday/Saturday cast and second is Friday/Sunday cast.
Mary Poppins: Grace Lambert, Jhadan Grucelski
Bert: Zebadiah Schermacher, Max Halle
George Banks: Devin Shircel, Cole Anhalt
Winifred Banks: Chloe Krebsbach, Molly Munson
Jane Banks: Tia Grucelski, Savannah Halle
Michael Banks: Alexander Hilbelink, Chase Anhalt
Mrs. Brill: Mary Crumley, Alexa Herceg
Robertson Ay: Michael Stephan, Joseph Krusiec
Miss Andrew: Thora Carpenter, Bree Bunyea
Birdwoman: Brylee Schuenemann, Isabel Schmelter
Bank Chairman: Joseph Krusiec, Michael Stephan
Mrs. Corry: Isabel Schmelter, Brylee Schuenemann
Von Hussler: Austin Gilbert
John Northbrook: Oliver Boxrucker
Admiral Boom: Jake Laehn
Miss Lark: Brianna Klahn
Park Keeper: Jonathon Riley
Katie Nana: Claire Hermanson  
Neleus: Jillian Straub
Miss Smythe: Kathrine Gentine
Annie: Kyleigh Rautmann
Fanny: Zoey Dobbertin
Nora Barrett
Lily Block
Julia Farnum
Eva Haak
Greta Jarr
Zandr Klahn
Riley McCulley
Gretta Mueller
Christian Rakoczy
Kylie TerMaat


Technical director: Scott Bunyea
Assistant director: Addi Arnold
Lighting designer: Evan Halseth
Sound designer: Iris Johnson
Sound effects tech: Alysen Dippel
Spotlighting designer: Madison White
Spotlight techs: Zooey Licht, Nicholas Odekirk
Tech crew: Dustin Olsen
Art design: Ryan Krippendorf
Set construction: Dean Jaeger, Rob Kraus, Ryan Kraus, Mark Johnson
Set painting:
Brooklyn Bersch
Jesse Klippel
Angela Krueger
Jayde Laubenstein
Jade Meyer
Brianna Schroeder
Ezra Streblow
Costumes: Rachel Thuermer, Shawna Halle
Props: Sara Block, Terri Boxrucker
Run crew:
Addi Arnold
Grace Bonde
Hailey Hamer
Ivan Hyer
Angela Krueger
Harper Ploeckleman
Aubree Preder
Nathaniel Stavola
Nancy Thao
Flight crew:
Brett Shutter
Colton Beauchamp
Logan Haney

Pit Band

Band director: Cody Wisman
Student Performers
Aubrianna Aderman: Flute
Emily Chen: Flute
Keegan Chevrier: Oboe, English Horn
Grace Erdly: Flute
Helena Erdly: Clarinet
Delaney Fischer: Bari Sax
Gavin Hamm: Percussion
Ben Harpsetad: Trombone
Lyla Hauck: Trombone
Liam Hoffman: Piano
Claudia Purvis: Trombone
Cres Ramaeker: Percussion
Alberto Ramos: Clarinet
Vincent Reysen: Bass
Cooper Ritchie: Tuba
Jonah Rodgers: Trumpet
Sam Rodgers: French Horn
Allison Steiner: Trombone
Sydeny Steiner: Flute
Hunter Struve: Trumpet
Shelby Tollman: Bassoon
Tayla Weisensel: Trumpet
Adult Performers
Zach Holden: Piano
Court Ramaeker: Guitar, Banjo
Sarah Reabe: Flute


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