Valdosta Daily Times

December 15, 2013

‘Mary Poppins’ soars to the top of PSST!’s 2014 season

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Mixed with the revue of songs from a quarter century of musical theatre through summers at Jekyll Island and with Peach State Summer Theatre, Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance presented a sneak peek of the coming 25 Seasons of Professional Musical Theatre performances for 2014.

It happened during the Cabaret dinner-and-show event, the annual VSU Theatre & Dance benefit for student scholarships. Emceed by VSU Theatre's Jacque Wheeler and Duke Guthrie, they introduced the coming season as the student performers sung songs from each show.

The 2014 PSST! season: "Mary Poppins," "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller," and "42nd Street."

Though we're about half a year away from opening night of the 2014 PSST! season, early bird season memberships are already available in time for Christmas presents. They may be purchased by visiting the PSST! website: www.valdosta.edu/psst

Visitors will also find the schedule for next season's shows. The first show opens June 6. The second show opens June 20. The third show opens June 27. All three shows are then performed in rotating repertory through July 27.

The live stage version of Disney's "Mary Poppins" will kick off the 25th anniversary season. This musical is based on the 1964 Disney movie and the stories of P.L. Travers. Guthrie warns that the stage "Mary Poppins" is similar to the movie but with a slightly darker edge. There are a couple of songs in the stage version that are not in the movie. Because of these themes and the show's length, the live version may not be appropriate for children under 8. It is possible "Saving Mr. Banks," the soon-to-be-released movie about the making of Disney's "Mary Poppins," will help audiences better understand the stage version's more serious thread. That said, audiences should still expect the familiar songs "Chim Chim Cher-ee," A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," etc., and, of course, a nanny who can fly with the help of an umbrella. The year 2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of the "Mary Poppins" movie.

"Smokey Joe's Cafe" is the second show. Featuring the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, this revue show follows last PSST! season's popular surprise hit, "The Marvelous Wonderettes." Guthrie says there is no dialogue in this show. "Smokey Joe's Cafe" centers completely on the music of Leiber and Stoller. While some may be asking who are they, the playlist quickly answers the question. They are the songwriting team that composed, either as a pair or with others, early rock classics like "Poison Ivy," "Love Potion No. 9," "Hound Dog," "Yakkety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Jailhouse Rock," "Fools Fall in Love," "Spanish Harlem," "Stand By Me," and many more.

The third show is "42nd Street." A big 1930s Hollywood musical about an effort to produce a Broadway spectacle at the height of the Great Depression, "42nd Street" became a big Tony award-winning Broadway musical – a real-life production-number of a show. The show is filled with well-known and recognizable songs: "Lullaby of Broadway," "We're in the Money," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," "I Only Have Eyes for You," etc.

With 25 years down, PSST!'s 2014 season is ready to kick off another 25 years of professional performances.

More information: Visit www.valdosta.edu/psst . The Valdosta Daily Times is PSST!'s corporate sponsor.