No matter where you grew up, chances are you were familiar with Mary Poppins as a child. The classic 1964 Walt Disney movie has been beloved from generation to generation, and the stage production is creating a new legacy for the Mary Poppins name. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins features familiar songs such as, “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” With 44 major theatre honors and seven productions on three continents, Mary Poppins is one of the biggest stage musical successes in recent years. In preparation for the show’s visit to the Orpheum Theatre, April 23-28 we present a Q&A with St. Paul native Elizabeth Ann Berg, who explains what it was like to grow up as a theatre student in Minnesota and how she came to be part of the ensemble of Mary Poppins.
Q. I hear you are from Minnesota, where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
A. Yes, I was born in St. Paul and grew up in St. Paul and the surrounding area. I attended Saint Paul Academy and graduated in 2007.
Q. Did you participate in musical theatre – or high school musicals while you were here?
A. I participated in many, many theater productions, starting with the Egyptian Cinderella in 5th grade.
Q. What are some of the other artistic groups you have performed with (theater, choirs, etc.)?
A. I performed in the Prelude program at MacPhail Center for the Performing Arts, The Children’s Theater Company, Hillcrest Community Theater, Steppingstone Theater, as well as local summer camps. In middle school I performed in Into the Woods, Bye Bye Birdie and Grease in theaters around Saint Paul. In high school, I performed in Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, Company, and A Class Act at regional theaters. At my high school, I performed in Peer Gynt, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Into the Woods, Tartuffe and Evita.
Q. When and why did you leave Minnesota? Where did you go?
A. I left after I graduated from Saint Paul Academy to attend the Boston Conservatory pursuing a BFA in musical theater.
Q. What are your favorite things to do when you return to the Twin Cities?
A. I love walking around and browsing the shops and restaurants on Grand Avenue. I ALWAYS eat at Café Latte and get a piece of cheesecake at a two person table overlooking the street. I also love walking around the lakes in Minneapolis, such as Lake of the Isles or Lake Calhoun. I always visit the Children’s Theater Company and MacPhail when I’m in town to say hello to old teachers. I also love going to 50th and France in Edina for shopping, food, and to attend the independent movie theater there. Another favorite area is Uptown and downtown Saint Paul especially in the winter when all the beautiful Christmas lights are up.
Q. Do members of your family still live here?
A. Yes. My Mom, Dad, brother, sister, and brother in law still live in and around the Twin Cities.
Elizabeth and the rest of the Mary Poppins cast will be returning to spread more joy to Minnesota at our Orpheum Theatre, April 23-28 – visit our site for more information and tickets. We also invite you and your children to join us in building your own kite and flying it at Hennepin Avenue’s first ever “Mary Poppins Pop-up Park,” where David Herzig of the Minnesota Kite Society will guide children in building their own kite.
Check out the Magic of Mary with this Behind-the-Scenes video!