Spit spot and on with the spectacular show

Appleton North’s production of Mary Poppins enjoyed a spectacular run that, despite a dramatic rain delay, was practically perfect in every way.

A little drama Friday’s night only proved how poised these talented high school students are, how loyal their growing fan base remains, and how gifted their directors continue to be.

Here’s what happened when the school’s fire alarm sounded smack in the middle of a rousing rendition of “Step in Time”, forcing startled actors and audience members to step in time right out of the school:

1) An obedient and swift evacuation of 700 patrons and 100 cast and crew occurred.

2) An audience willingly waited outside in the rain for the all clear sign so they can see the rest of the show

3) A poised cast and pit orchestra ably resumed exactly where it left off, despite an uncomfortably damp and unexpected delay.

Though this had never happened before, everything proceeded with no-nonsense precision, as though the title character herself had choreographed the exit. Spit spot! and on with the show. Often in my 15-year association with the Appleton North Theatre Department I’ve applauded director Ron Parker’s amazing productions. I agree with the patrons who regularly remark that they can’t believe these actors, these musicians, and tech crew are high school students and not seasoned professionals.

Friday night I watched high school senior Joey Krohlow as Bert and his merry band of chimney sweeps pick up right where they left off after the Appleton Fire Department gave the all clear signal, and I thought the same thing. “I can not believe those are high school kids up there!”

Congratulations once again Appleton North Theatre. Our admiration for you only grows.

Grandma Mary Jane exiting the theatre
The Outlaw Mary Jane, who came up from Illinois to see the show, took the evacuation in stride.
Molly and Grandma Mary Jane
I love this picture of Molly the Chimney Sweep and her Grandma.
Lisa the Birdwoman
This is Lisa Elliot, the Bird Woman, who also took the evacuation in stride. Her rendition of “Feed the Birds” was just beautiful.
Mary Poppins FIRE in a crowded theatre 021
Run crew members hung out in the rain and probably enjoyed the break. These petite girls heroically hauled giant set pieces on and off stage through 12 performances and countless rehearsals.
Burt and the chimney sweeps
Given the “all clear” the chimney sweeps, along with everyone else, stepped in time back into the building without missing a beat. That’s Bert in the far right corner, and that’s a couple members of his merry crew high stepping back into the building.
Burt and Mr
Director Ron Parker and Joey got the scene rolling again. Props also to pit orchestra extraordinaire Jim Thaldorf and his professional sounding high school musicians, who also didn’t miss a beat following the unscheduled rainy delay.
Mary Jane and the kids
And, one more picture of Mary Jane and her grandkids, because she’s a loyal reader and because we love her.

The show itself was spectacular. Here are a few photos my friend Catherine McKenzie took to give you a taste:

Bert on the wall Conversation shoppe 2Its a jolly holidayKitchen Conversation shoppe David and the penguins Step in time


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