BV’s spring musical, ‘Mary Poppins’ has kids flying high

Jill Meier, Journal editor

Jim Erickson/For the Journal 

Mary Poppins, played by senior Ellie Erickson, arrives at the Banks’ home in a most ‘unusual’ way. The spring musical will be performed Thursday through Sunday.


Jill Meier/BV Journal 

(Above) Portraying the Banks family are, from left, Isaac Johnson, Logan Torgrude, Andrew Fode and Ellen Joseph. (Below) Mary Poppins shoes are filled by senior Ellie Erickson, a role, she said that she wanted to play.


BVHS’s spring musical, “Mary Poppins,” will be presented at 7 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at the high school.


Tickets are at a premium for the popular musical children’s fantasy, “Mary Poppins,” that takes the stage of Brandon Valley High’s Performing Arts Center this week. Performances are planned for 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

But if you haven’t already reserved your tickets, director Mel Sittig confirmed that tickets for the four performances may be hard to come by.

“We currently only have some balcony and a few scattered main floor seats left for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday shows. Friday is sold out, and we wouldn’t be shocked if the shows will all be sold out prior to opening night,” she said last week.

That’s understandable.

More than 200 kids – including kids from multiple grade levels throughout the BV School District – auditioned and/or turned in applications to be part of the show. Sittig, unfortunately, had to turn more than half of them away, as this year’s spring musical cast and crew is 94 members strong.

BV junior Ryan Presler was selected for the role of Bert, the chimney sweeper, who was played by Dick Van Dyke in the 1964 Walt Disney-produced film. The show’s namesake, Mary Poppins, will be played by senior Ellie Erickson.

“Fun fact,” Erickson shares. “The first day of rehearsals, we were in the choir room and practicing the songs, and Mr. Gullickson asked, ‘Is there anyone who hasn’t seen the movie?’ and I was the only one in the room to raise my hand. I have seen the movie now, but I do think it’s a little ironic.”

Erickson’s first show on the PAC stage was BVHS’s production of The Music Man. She was in the sixth grade, and since then, the stage has continued to call her back.

“Seventh grade wasn’t a kid’s year, and eighth grade was Cinderella, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” she said.

This, however, is her very first lead role, and she’s relishing in the spotlight opportunity.

“I just knew that the role came with a lot of opportunities to not just be the star, but to work with ensemble, learn how to fly, all that,” she said.

She’s also relishing in flying high above the stage.

“I love it a lot. At first it was absolutely terrifying, but you just don’t look down and you forget you’re even up there,” she said.

Her favorite song of the show, Feed the Birds, is for personal reasons.

“Because Izzy (Stone) and I have been singing together for a really long time. In the sixth grade, we were in The Music Man together and when we were in the fifth grade, her family took me to the Pavilion to watch Mary Poppins, so it’s kind of like a bookend. I just love singing with her and it’s my favorite song of the show. I love singing it, I think it’s super-powerful,” she said.

Presler also comes into his role with a nostalgic connection to the show.

Mary Poppins was kind of our family’s go-to Disney movie when we were kids, so this is an absolute blast,” he said.

He, too, is delighting in performing in mid-air.

“The flying stuff is a whirl,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it … gravity-defying, something like that.”

Scoring the role as the Banks family patriarch, George, is junior Isaac Johnson, and the matriarch, Winifred Banks, is being played by senior Ellen Joseph. The roles of the Banks children, Jane and Michael, were awarded to Logan Togrude and Andrew Fode, respectively.

Joseph said she’s been preparing to play Winifred Banks since last August.

“I wanted it so badly,” she confesses. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in a musical – ever – and it’s just been so fun.”

Joseph said she wanted to play Winifred Banks because she sees a bit of herself in the motherly figure.

“She is one of those characters where she is just kind of stuck. She’s just known as being the mom in the house doing the cooking, but she wants something more in the world and she wants to be something. And sometimes, I feel that’s how I am with (oral) interp. I’m a female in a male debater’s world, and so I have a connection with her in that sense where I want to be something bigger than I am here as a woman, and that’s why I just love her. I also love her motherly nature; it’s just something that I share. I love kids and it’s just a role that I really resonate with,” she said.

This is the first “big theatre role” for Johnson, who simply wants audiences to “have fun watching us on stage, because we’re definitely having fun.”

Torgrude, a seventh-grader at Brandon Valley Middle School, said she was excited to get a callback for the role of Jane Banks. Her motivation to be in the show was a simple one: “I like to sing,” she said.

Fode, a sixth grader at BV Intermediate School, has two other spring musical credits on his young resume: The Music Man and the Sound of Music. He enjoyed those experiences so much that he wanted to do more.

“I heard we were flying and I just really like theatre,” he said.

As does his family.

“My parents really like Mary Poppins so we watched it, but I never thought I would be performing in it,”
 he says.

With the curtain about to go up on their final theatrical production as students at BVHS, Johnson recalls a moment that she and Erickson had earlier in the day.

“We were both like, ‘I can’t believe that we’re actually in Mary Poppins.’ It’s so cool,” she said.

As the story goes, the nanny for the Banks children has left her service, so George Banks takes it upon himself to hire a stern, no-nonsense nanny while the children present their own advertisement for a kinder, sweeter nanny. 

Their father, however disagrees, ripping up their letter and then tossing the scraps into the fireplace. By chance, a strong wind draws the fragments up through the chimney and into the air.

The next day, a number of elderly, sour-faced nannies wait outside the Banks’ home before a strong gust of wind blows them away. It is then that Jane and Michael witness a young, magical nanny descending from the sky using her umbrella.

As expected, that nanny is none other than Mary Poppins. She calmly produces the children’s restored advertisement and agrees with its requests but promises the astonished banker that she will be firm with his children. As George Banks puzzles over the advertisement’s return, Mary Poppins hires herself and convinces him that it was all his original idea.

As Mary Poppins and the Banks children take a walk, they meet Mary’s old friend, Bert, and from there, the magic of Mary Poppins ensues.

Playgoers will delight in a variety of familiar songs from the show, including “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cheree,” to name a few.

To date, Sittig said her favorite part of putting together this show was “day one of flight training.”

“There were smiles all around!” she said.

And that’s just what Sittig and BV’s cast and crew of Mary Poppins are hoping to see from their audiences is “smiles all around.”


BVHS Spring 2022 Musical – Mary Poppins

Director Melanie Sittig

Orchestra director Terry Gullickson


Cast List

Bert Ryan Presler

George Banks Isaac Johnson

Winifred Banks Ellen Joseph

Jane Banks Logan Torgrude

Michael Banks Andrew Fode

Mary Poppins Ellie Erickson

Katie Nanna Abby Boersma

Mrs. Brill Anna Risty

Robertson Ay Nick Tofteland

Miss Lark Rachael Spencer

Miss Smythe Rachael Vogel

Bird Woman Isabella Stone

Miss Andrew Emerson Conrad

Mrs. Corry Avery Kautz

Fannie Reagan Morrell

Annie Ella Forman

Park Keeper Bergen Christensen

Policeman Ian Candy

Bank Chairman Sam Dixon

Von Hussler Holden Jepperson

Northbrook Ben Livingston

Admiral Boom Thomas Risty

Neleus Ty Stephany

Valentine Jaci Stemwedel

Teddy Bear Ella Moody

Doll Chloe Bills

Toys Hailey Pederson, Emeline Risty, Lexie Johnson

Ensemble: Zoe Conrad, Zariah Sittig, Emma Burch, Isabelle Jagen, Teya Badger, Sydney Wiborg, Abby Solum, Joe Meline, Paul Kern, Brady Thompson, Bella Reif, Elliott Carbonneau, Reagan Jepperson, Braxton Saxer, Ellie Sershen, Aidan Sterling Pitts, Noraa Wipf, Tavia Sittig, Leighton Guetter, Annabelle Kautz, Eva Bertsch, Susie Fokken, Ella Schoolcraft, Dylan Schneider, Alivi Greunig, Cannon Halversma, Brody Rohr, Harper Griffith, Isabella Langner, Nolan Guetter, Rylie Skibsted, Addison Schenk.

Dancers: Ameila Barr, Olivia Elder, Analiese Evans, Kamryn Hunt, Abby Olesen, Tana Rosenau, Olivia Tagatz, Alexavia Waysman.

Technical Crew: Nichole Hansen, Kate Bebensee, Laura Jupiter, Liz Aaseng, Mazzi Moore, Emily Outland, Katerine Keough, Mackenzie Griffith, Autumn Taylor, Keith Travis, Kaidan Ilchuk, Gavin Klapperich, Gavin Houtsma.

Orchestra: Flute-Anna Tews, Sarah Rommann; Oboe–Tabitha Choate; Clarinet–Krista Burkman; French horn–Isaac Fode; Trumpt–Russell Rivero, Riley Rippentrop; Trombone–Ethan Rohr, Lucas Bertsch; Bass–Mya Moss; Drums–Sam Hofer; Piano–Mr. Carson Pruett


The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
(605) 582-9999

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Please Login for Premium Content