‘Mary Poppins’ flies to Crighton Theater via Christian Community Theater


Director Ashlie Driver promises all the magical families have come to know and love when Christian Community Theater presents her summer show “Mary Poppins” at Conroe’s Crighton Theater from August 12-21.

The group is the all-ages arm of Christian Youth Theater Houston, which also performs at the Crighton Theater and hosts year-round theater experiences for youth up to age 18.

“We like to say the summer program is for kids from zero to 99,” Driver said.

Driver is the executive director of CYT Houston and has also directed for The Players Theater Company in Conroe. She said that for their summer schedule, they are always looking for a show that has roles for people of all ages.

“We want fun shows that appeal to the whole family,” she said. This show marks a return to onstage “flying” for CYT for the first time since the pandemic began. Without giving too much away, she said audiences would definitely see the magic associated with “Mary Poppins.”

Jack-of-all-trades Bert introduces audiences to 1910 England and the troubled Banks family.

According to the show’s synopsis, young Jane and Michael sent many nannies packing before Mary Poppins arrived on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must re-teach the family members to value each other.

Mary Poppins takes children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones she has a profound effect on. Even adults can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that “anything can happen if you let it.”

Auditions were held the last week of May, and actors of all ages rehearsed all summer long.

The show is special for Driver because she really loves the redemptive story of George Banks. The banks are played here by Stephen Driver.

“He grew up in a very difficult family life where he was not recognized for his own gifts and talents,” she said. “So does it himself as a parent. Mary Poppins comes in and wakes him up on a better way to be with this family. It’s really the character arc of George Banks that appeals to me.

The driver said Stephen really brings depth of emotion to the character.

“You can see him worrying about this need to provide for his family and this need to be a strict householder, but still having a childish side that wants to go play with his kids,” he said. she declared.

Laurelyn Korfhage plays Mary Poppins.

Korfhage’s mother was a choir teacher and she said she grew up with music in her life. She began performing in plays and musicals when she was eight years old and continued to major in musical theater in college.

Korfhage is now a choir teacher at Willis High School.

She took a break from performing and recently returned to acting in The Players Theater Company’s “Bright Star” in Conroe.

Driver said Korfhage had this ability to connect with the kids on the show in a firm yet kind way, much like Mary Poppins.

Korfhage said the story of Mary Poppins is particularly close to his heart.

“As a teacher, what Mary Poppins feels for Michael and Jane is what I feel for all of my students,” she said.

She started her teaching career at the elementary level, so she particularly enjoys the all-ages cast where she spends time with the younger ones.

Lucas Olivarez plays narrator Burt, the dynamic storyteller of the whole show.

Hallie Majors plays Jane and Hazel Lopez plays Michael.

Driver said the kids played the major early roles and ran the show like pros.

“They both have an innocence about them and they’re so smart and play each other really well,” she said.

Visit https://www.cythouston.org/shows/CCTs-Mary-Poppins/51 for a full cast list.

Shows are held at the Crighton Theatre, 234 Main Street in downtown Conroe. The performance dates are from August 12 to August 21 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Evening shows are at 7 p.m. Matinees on Saturdays and Sundays are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Visit www.cythouston.org for tickets.

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