A new production is getting underway– Mary Poppins— and that means a brand-new blog series highlighting the various aspects of the show!
To kick off our first Mary Poppins Monday blog post, we wanted to showcase the first thing fans will see when visiting Arkansas Repertory Theatre: the lobby!
This spring when patrons take a step in the lobby, they will be transported to a whimsical land fit for Mary Poppins and her proper ways.
From colorful kites and puffs of cotton emulating clouds to delicate arrangements and intricate cutouts of London-town and Mary Poppins, herself, patrons will be singing a “Spoonful of Sugar” or “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” upon their arrival!
Decorations were created by the theatre’s Stagehands group, whose mission is to welcome and provide hospitality to The Rep’s visiting actors, directors and technical crew. With her vast interior design experience, Penny Beebe led the colorful project that has taken over the lobby.
“[The Stagehands and I] discussed the music itself and the various scenes within the movie and the musical,” she said, “and decided to focus on the main character Mary Poppins. [We] thought it would be really special if we could somehow make her fly in and amongst some big, billowy clouds.”
To create Mary Poppins’ silhouette, Beebe looked at various photos and decided on one that was “practically perfect in every way.” She first enlarged her picture with an old-fashioned overhead projector that teachers used to use to teach their lessons and she blew her up on a wall and got the outline.
“From there, it needed to be transferred to foam board. The problem was she didn’t fit on just one piece. It took five pieces of foam board to create Mary Poppins as she was about nine feet in length– from the top of her umbrella to the end of her carpet bag,” Beebe said.
And it wasn’t that easy to install– it took three people on two tall ladders to get her into place!
As for the fluffy clouds you seeing hanging overhead, Beebe used five paper honeycomb balls–the kind that fan out use for decoration for parties– and tied them all together as the basis for the cloud. She then hot glued stuffing in the holes, creating a cloud-like appearance.
Additionally, the creative group loved the idea of hanging various sizes and colors of kites from the ceiling and wrapping the room with the letters and actual word of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
“We chatted about Bert and the chimney sweep scene and that inspired us with the idea of creating a silhouette of that particular scene,” Beebe said, “one we could display on the windows in the lobby so that it could be seen from both the interior and exterior of the building as well.”
Kite strings, parasols and centerpieces for each table (with clear vases held in sugar cubes) rounded out the gorgeous decorations for the lobby.
Mary Poppins will take The Rep stage from March 6 and will run through April 12. Get your tickets to this Disney musical by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting TheRep.org.
Thank you our wonderful Stagehands group for their wonderful work on the decorations!