Friday, November 4th, CYT Dallas will open their largest production to date, Mary Poppins! With 74 performers, a professional flight crew, a larger than life set, handmade period costumes, and nine performances, it is sure to be a magical experience for the whole family.
Eighteen year old Faith Rachaner is playing Mary Poppins in her 18th and final CYT production. After joining CYT Dallas at its launch in 2016, Faith fell in love with the community and has been a part of every show since. When asked to reflect on the past six years, she said CYT Dallas is “my comfort, my home, my favorite place in the whole world.” Some of her favorite past roles in CYT productions include Cinderella in Cinderella, Grace in Annie, Vi in Footloose, and Gertrude in Seussical. Faith has aged out of CYT programming, making this her final show with CYT Dallas. Faith called Mary Poppins “the perfect last show” and said the experience has felt “almost magical.” When asked about playing the iconic nanny, she said, “I absolutely love her character, and it’s been such an exciting journey learning everything about her. She has such a warm heart, a huge amount of confidence, and a desire to help reunite families.”
One of the most exciting parts of playing Mary Poppins, Faith shared, is the opportunity to fly onstage, adding that “magic touch” to the show. To make this magic happen, CYT Dallas has brought in Flying by Foy, the most prolific and widely-respected theatrical flying service in the world. They are the company who flew the original Broadway cast of Mary Poppins! Since its start in 1957, Flying by Foy has revolutionized theatrical flight and elevated the ancient practice of stage flying to a modern art form, flying stars from Julie Andrews to Eminem, and everyone in between.
Harry, the Flight Director for CYT’s production of Mary Poppins has worked at Flying by Foy for over twenty-two years. When asked his favorite part of his job, Harry looked around the theatre and said “Doing this, doing shows! I knew I was going to work backstage and be in theatre since I was fifteen.” The process of preparing for flight effects in a show is not a simple one. Harry arrived at the theatre early Saturday morning, October 29th to begin setting up the necessary equipment. Four volunteers from the CYT Dallas community worked alongside him to begin learning the systems that would be lifting the actors up to twenty feet in the air. Later Saturday afternoon, upon the completion of the set and flight installation, the three actors flying in the show – Mary, Bert, and Miss Andrew – came to a rehearsal to meet with the Flight Director and begin practicing with the system. Faith shared she was very nervous in the beginning. Her first few times in the air she kept her eyes closed. The director of the show, Tyler Hutchinson, encouraged her to take the process “one step at a time.” With repetition came confidence, and by the end of the rehearsal Faith was acting and singing full out from fifteen feet above the stage floor!
The Lewisville Grand Theatre is bustling this week as CYT Dallas puts the finishing touches on this extraordinary musical to share with the DFW community.