MARY POPPINS, Jane and Michael Banks’ new nanny. She is extraordinary and strange, neat and tidy, delightfully vain yet very particular, and sometimes a little frightening, but always exciting. She is practically perfect in every way and always means what she says. A mezzo-soprano with strong top notes, she should be able to move well (Tap a plus). She can have a more traditional soprano sound, but precision and diction are key. Mary is, above all things, other-worldly and incredibly special.
BERT, the narrator of the story, is a good friend to Mary Poppins. An everyman, Bert holds many trades, including hurdy-gurdy player, sidewalk artist, and chimney sweep. Bert watches over the children, as well as the goings-on in Cherry Tree Lane. He has charm, speaks with a Cockney accent, and is a song and dance man. The actor who plays this role must display a relaxed charisma and charm, excellent in character listening/reacting skills, and must be comfortable dancing solo. Baritone. Tap Experience a BIG plus.
THE BANKS FAMILY and STAFF:
GEORGE BANKS, the father to Jane and Michael Banks, is a banker to the very fiber of his being. Demanding “precision and order” in his household, he is a pipe and slippers man who doesn’t have much to do with his children and believes he had the perfect upbringing by his nanny, the cruel Miss Andrew. His emotional armor, however, conceals a sensitive soul. He is the impetus for Mary Poppins' arrival on Cherry Tree Lane. A Baritone. (Late 30s-40s)
WINIFRED BANKS, George’s wife and Jane and Michael’s mother. A former actress, she is a loving but distracted homemaker who is busy trying to live up to her husband's desire to associate with "the best people" as well as be a model wife and mother. She suffers from the conflicting feelings that she's not up to the job of "being Mrs. Banks," yet she is, and more. She has great warmth and simplicity to her tone. Think Mother in Ragtime. Mezzo-Soprano. (Mid-30s)
JANE BANKS, the high-spirited daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Banks, is bright and precocious but can be willful and inclined to snobbishness. Child Soprano. (played age 11)
MICHAEL BANKS, the cute and cheeky son of Mr. and Mrs. Banks. Excitable and naughty, he adores his father and tries to be like him. Both he and Jane misbehave in order to get attention from their parents. Male child voice, unbroken. (played age 9)
MRS. BRILL, the housekeeper and cook for the Banks family. Overworked and harrassed, she’s always complaining that the house is understaffed. Her intimidating exterior is a cover for the warmth underneath. Mrs. Brill doesn't have a high opinion of nannies in general and Mary Poppins in particular. Alto. A Doris Roberts Type.
ROBERTSON AY, the houseboy to the Banks family. Lazy, sleepy, and grumbling, he never gets things right and believes himself to be useless. He doesn’t do a lot of singing, but his “Spoonful” solo can be a fun surprise. Tenor. Should be played as a teen (17-19), even if by an adult.
THE CITIZENS OF CHERRY TREE LANE AND LONDONTOWN:
ADMIRAL BOOM, a retired Royal Navy man and neighbor of the Banks family. A physically large man with a loud and booming voice, he speaks in Navy jargon and has a soft spot for his neighbor, Miss Lark. Can be any vocal range needed. (played 40s-50s)
MISS LARK, The haughty next-door neighbor of the Banks family who treats her dog, Willoughby, as if he were her child. A fun role that requires an exaggerated, cartoonish character performance. (played 40s-50s)
BANK CHAIRMAN, the head of the bank where Mr. Banks is employed, is an Edwardian stuffed-shirt. He can speak/sing his lyrics if necessary. Baritone.
OTHER CITIZENS OF MARY’S WORLD:
NELEUS, the statue of a posed man with a dolphin in the park near the Banks’ house. Neleus was separated from his father, Poseidon, and misses him very much. A small and lonely being, he is very happy to befriend Jane and Michael. A friend of Mary Poppins, and like her incredibly special. Strong DANCE role.
BIRD WOMAN, covered in a patchwork of old shawls, and her pockets are stuffed with bags of crumbs for the birds. She tries to sell her crumbs to passersby, who ignore her as if she doesn’t exist. Sings “Feed the Birds.” There can be a gruff, folksy quality to her voice that reflects the hardness of her life. A friend of Mary Poppins, and like her incredibly special. Alto.
MRS. CORRY, owns a magical gingerbread shop. She is a woman of mystery who has traveled the world. A friend of Mary Poppins, and like her incredibly special. Soprano.
MISS ANDREW, George’s overbearing and scary nanny. With her bottle of nasty-tasting brimstone and treacle to keep naughty children in line, she is a bully who only knows one way of doing things – her way. A Soprano with an alto belt, there can be some heaviness to her voice along with the range. The only true ‘villain’ in our story. It could be performed in drag.
ENSEMBLE ROLES (These Roles will also Double in the Ensemble):
VON HUSSLER, A devious, shady businessman seeking a loan from the bank for a questionable business deal. He speaks with a German accent. The performer in this role must be
able to create a physically and vocally exaggerated, cartoonish character. Will double as ensemble.
JOHN NORTHBROOK, An honest businessman seeking a loan to build a factory for his community. This role requires a performer who can project sincerity, honesty, and trustworthiness. A friend of Mary Poppins, and like her incredibly special. Will double as ensemble.
KATIE NANNA, The last in a long line of similar nannies, Katie Nanna is frustrated, overwhelmed, annoyed with and sick of the Banks children. The actress in this role will double as ensemble.
VALENTINE Male or Female, Jane’s doll who comes to life in a dream sequence in which he and the other toys express their anger at how they have been treated. A stern and frustrated character and a leader among the toys. This role requires a strong physical performance that can portray ‘doll’ movement.
POLICEMAN, A neighborhood fixture who is respected by and observant of households on his beat. Will double as ensemble.
PARK KEEPER, Uniformed and officious, he makes sure no one breaks park regulations. His life is defined by rules, but he secretly hankers after his childhood. He will speak with a Cockney accent. Will double as ensemble.
MISS SMYTHE, The Bank Chairman's humorless secretary. A fun role that the actress can make her own. Will double as ensemble.
ANNIE and FANNIE, Mrs. Corry’s daughters, Annie and Fannie are impish sisters who help out at their mother’s shop. They have a small dance feature in Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, These roles require strong movers with great physical performance skills. The actresses in these roles will double as ensemble. (14 - mid-20s)
The ensemble of Mary Poppins is a tour-de-force.
Mostly consisting of Teens (16+)/Adults, perhaps with a few youth members.
There will not be a youth ensemble. They will each have individual tracks but ensemble roles will include: CHIMNEY SWEEPS, BANK CLERKS, DANCING STATUES, KITE FLYERS, PARK STROLLERS, TOYS, GINGERBREAD SHOP CUSTOMERS, STARLIGHTERS, and more!