The always-popular “Mary Poppins” is making an appearance at Madison’s Overture Center this week. The show features everyone’s favorite scenes and songs as well as an incredibly talented live cast. I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerry Conte, who plays the vivacious, feministic Winifred Banks. Conte told me a little about her personal performance history, as well as some great comments about the upcoming show.
Daily Cardinal: You’ve got an amazing history in the theater with a fair number of shows under your belt. What would you say is the most challenging song you’ve had to sing in any show?
Kerry Conte: I was in a show called Hollywood Pinafore; it’s a show based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” (1878). In the show, I had to sing a four-minute long aria and that was really challenging.
DC: Have you always known you wanted to be on the stage or was it an interest that developed later in life?
KC: I always knew. When I was in kindergarten, we did The Wizard of Oz. I was Dorothy and I decided then that I really wanted to be in theater.
DC: Let’s talk a little bit about the show coming up. Mary Poppins has a pretty big reputation—do you think the show upholds that?
KC: Absolutely. The show encompasses the movie, but also everything you love about the books. It’s so British. It’s got wonderful scenes and a great story and the production manages to weave both together.
DC: Is this the largest production you’ve been in off-Broadway?
KC: Yeah, this is definitely the largest. It has the most costumes, the most sets, and the biggest cast. It’s also been the most challenging for me. I’ve never had a major role, so it’s so great to get into this and have so many lines and songs. Mrs. Banks is a character that I can dig into.
DC: Has it been fun to travel with the cast?
KC: Definitely. We’ve been on tour for over a year and the people are so great.
DC: What has been the best city to travel to in your opinion?
KC: It keeps changing! Every city is the best.
DC: What has been the best part of this production of Mary Poppins?
KC: Doing the shows. It’s always different. The changes of cast always keep it fresh.
DC: What’s your favorite part of playing Mrs. Banks?
KC: I love her character. There are some changes from movie. At the beginning, she’s not sure where she fits in and then at the end she gets confidence thanks to Mary Poppins and the kids. She goes from being meek to powerful.
DC: What is your favorite song from the show?
KC: supercalifragilistic. It’s so much fun and it’s such high energy. And the dancing is great!
DC: What’s one thing you’d like to tell the student body to motivate them to come see the show?
KC: It’s really a nice evening of theater. The show is entertaining and a great story. Everyone thinks more about their life and their place in the world after seeing it.
“Mary Poppins” opens Tuesday, March 12th and runs until March 17th.