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Mary Poppins Makes Bay Path History

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On Sunday, November 13, Bay Path’s fall musical, Mary Poppins, came to a close. The production ran from November 10-13, 2016, and each of the five showings was completely sold out—for the first time in Bay Path history. It was the most elaborate and technical show to date with period costumes and over 22 stage piece rentals from Northern Stage Rentals. The person behind our production’s creative stage design was Josiah Durham.

Design Elements

Josiah Durham played a big part in the show’s success, using his talents in set design to bring the magic to life on Cherry Tree Lane. This is Durham’s third year working with Bay Path University’s performing arts department, where he has done the set production for shows including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Little Women, and James and the Giant Peach. Josiah has been involved in set making for eight years, working at the Majestic Theatre in Westfield, MA, Pioneer Valley Ballet in Easthampton, MA as the master carpenter, and freelancing in set design and construction throughout the region.

“I enjoy the problem-solving that goes into making a set work,” says Durham. “I like the challenge, making a plan, then seeing everything come together when it’s completed. Having the audience react to the finished product is amazing.”

Making the Magic Come to Life

Mary Poppins included songs from the classic film and Broadway show performed by a pit band located downstairs in Carr Hall while the performers remained on stage. The band was led by Bay Path’s Director of Musical Activities, Robert Tomasulo. In addition, the costumes were rented and designed by Kaytlyn Vandeloecht based on the original works to bring the audience into 1910 London. Durham worked hand-in-hand with Vandeloecht and Tomasulo to produce a magical show with myriad special effects.

“It was a very demanding show and we wanted to dream as big as we could to accomplish the concepts we had in mind for this iconic production,” Durham explained. “The audience wanted to see Mary fly and be taken into her world. The biggest challenge was making that happen in a small space and meeting those high expectations. And we did it!”

Mary Poppins did indeed take flight with the help of a double scissor hydraulic lift that was hidden behind the rooftops Durham had built to create the illusion that she was flying.

Be on the look out for details on our next production: C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, coming to the Bay Path stage this spring!  

Interested in what’s coming up on campus? Check out our Events Calendar!