Paper Mill Rising Star Winner Shares Mary Poppins Experience

Joanna Gagis talks with the 2016 Paper Mill Rising Star, Claire Fitzpatrick, who won the award for “Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role” after portraying Mary Poppins in Summit’s High School’s production of Mary Poppins.

10/22/16 #521






"Welcome back to Life and Living. She took New Jersey by storm with her high school rendition of Mary Poppins that you just saw right there earning the 2016 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star award for outstanding actress in a leading role. It's no surprise. She's Claire Fitzpatrick. She's joining us right now. Welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. I love, just in that short clip, listening to you sing. Your voice is beautiful. Thank you. Talk to us a little bit about this roll, Mary Poppins and how it came to you. So our high school program is very very notorious for doing very big, broad shows. What high school? Summit High School in New Jersey. So we kind of had an inkling that that's what they wanted to do because we did Beauty and the Beast a few years back so they wanted to bring back the whole Disney theme and everyone got so excited because it's such a magical show. Is there something about Disney? Yes. Well first of all, is there something about Disney that the cast and crew connect to and the audience? Yes. Absolutely. We tend to bring in a lot of younger children. Last year we did Sweeney Todd which was definitely less of a kid friendly show so we wanted to do something that was a lot more appealing to younger audiences. So having Mary Poppins as our show was such a great way to draw in more people and such a great way to have the audience really connect to us and with the show. Did you try out for the lead? Did you go in knowing you wanted to be Mary Poppins? Oh yeah! Was this your first lead? Yes actually. Last year I was Joanna which was more of a supporting roll so this year was my first lead. With Sweeney Todd. Yes. She had a great name. Yeah. Totally. I'm partial. So what kind of preparation went into that because I notice a British accent in your singing. Yes, our director and pointer at Summit High School gave us a lot of dialect CD's that we had to study and we had to study all of these packets and stuff. And I watched the movie at least 100 times. Did you? With Julie Andrews just to make sure I got everything nuanced. Everything down, so it was a lot of work. So you get the lead and the whole crew is working on this play. How long does it take, especially in a high school musical, for it to kind of jive and for everyone to be on the same page..."