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Our family is all about experiencing good wholesome fun to its fullest. We recently watched Disney’s Mary Poppins with our children and then turned right around to watch Saving Mr. Banks. If there were sequels, we probably would have watched those, too. Instead, we just sang all the songs for the next few weeks. My sweet daughter just loved Mary. She would dress up, as she loves to do, and start dumping spoonfuls of sugar at her tea parties. Luckily, I heard about the Arkansas Rep’s production of Mary Poppins. So we stopped singing and started planning. What better thing than to give my daughter the opportunity to see Mary live and in costume?
I called to get our tickets and was pleasantly surprised when a lady named Allyson heard about my story and offered to give my family a tour of the costume shop before the show. We were very excited about that!
We headed out with our guide to see the costume shop before the production. She was so accommodating and showed our five year old all the cool props and answered my 1,000 + questions about how the operations worked.
The costume shop was incredibly detailed! Each costume section was organized by era. Someone with access to that closet would never lose a costume contest. It was every little girl’s birthday party dream with hats, dresses, boas and sashes galore. Goodness, what am I saying? It is every woman’s shoe closet dream.
I was impressed to learn that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre produces all their shows from scratch, from the designing and making of the costumes to designing and building of the sets, plus finding all the authentic props for the show.
Allyson told us a story about how when they put on the production of The Whipping Man they wanted the Civil War jacket to be so authentic that they found the factory that made the type of wool that the jackets were made of during the Civil War era. The Arkansas Repertory costume designer contacted the factory, it was still in business, and they made the Arkansas Rep an authentic replica of a Civil War jacket from the exact type of wool used so many years ago.
After our tour, I was job-envy of the lady who holds the position of Props Manager. Her job is to shop all the flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, etc… to find the best, most authentic props for all the productions. I love to visit flea markets with friends and find old treasures to bring home and this lady gets to do this for a living. She reads the script and makes a list of necessary props and then goes treasure hunting for them. She has a creative eye and pays attention to detail in such a way that I can’t help but appreciate any production the Rep does. They don’t just try to find “cool props,” they find authentic replicas and are very precise in what they do.
And as far as Mary Poppins goes, I haven’t stopped humming the songs since we left. So, we are back to singing around our house. Whatever are we going to do? My daughter has been tap dancing in the living room and going through her “costume closet” to put on the perfect show for mom and dad. She has a whole list of her favorite parts from the show, but I won’t spoil them for you. All you need to know is we laughed and clapped and talked about it the whole way home. I can’t wait until we go back for another Arkansas Repertory experience.
Mary Poppins will be playing at The Rep until April 12th.
For a list of upcoming productions CLICK HERE.
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