Q&A with Mary Poppins (Madeline Trumble)

Written by lyricsmama on March 1, 2013 – 7:42 AM -

I just went to see Mary Poppins on stage at The Stranahan Theater, and let me say, such an AMAZING show, a definite MUST SEE!!

The cast has been all around Toledo, to the Toledo Zoo, The Children’s Hospital and even Imagination station engaging the kids and community.

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Madeline Trumble who plays Mary Poppins recently sat down for some Q&A’s, here’s what she had to say….

What inspired you to perform onstage?
I come from a family of performers. My grandma studied theater in college, my dad was on Broadway in Children of A Lesser God, my brother and sister and I all have it in our blood. My brother and I used to put on performances every night in our living room. I was always going to be a performer- I didn’t really have a choice. I was lucky enough to grow up in the Bay Area, where there are dozens of community and regional theatre companies. I did my first show when I was seven, fell in love and never looked back.

Tell me about the first time you performed onstage.
I was seven years old and played Nellie in Annie Get Your Gun. My brother was nine and played my brother, Jake. I don’t remember much, only how much I adored the theater. The dressing rooms, the other cast members, being onstage, singing, dancing. It was all thrilling.

Were you in theater at your high school?
My school (Berkeley High School) had amazing performing arts program. I took tons of dance classes (both modern and Afro-Haitian) and took drama and performed in musicals every year. But I did most of my theater outside of school, at local theatre companies. I was always in a show. Sometimes more than one at a time!

What were some of the shows that you did when you were in high school?
High school meant that awkward age where you’re too old to play kids and too young to play adults. So I did a little bit of teen theater. I did A Chorus Line three times and it became my favorite musical. I also did Bat Boy (another favorite), Children of Eden, Annie, um… the list goes on and on…

Tell me about your time at University of Michigan.
The University of Michigan was my dream school. I only auditioned for four colleges and had my heart set on U of M. It was a MIRACLE when I got in! It was a thrilling, challenging, confusing time. It was the first time I ever had to think about theater as a career- as a job, and not just something I did for fun. Performing, something that I had always done for fun was suddenly very real and seemed very unattainable. I struggled a lot with holding onto the love I had for performing. I guess it was my sort of transition into adulthood. But once I got out of school and had good luck auditioning and working, it helped me rediscover the love I had for my chosen field and realized that it IS attainable.

Did you do a lot of shows while you were there?
I did a few. I had pretty bad luck getting into department musicals. It was tough to always hear “No”, but the one big show I did get to do was 42nd Street. And I am so thankful I did it! I wasn’t much of a tapper before then, but after that two month crash course in Broadway tapping, I was ready to take on any tap audition!

Is Mary Poppins the first big role you had since going to New York?
Mary Poppins was the first job I got out of school. I actually got the initial audition from my senior showcase (a show the U of M senior class put together for casting directors and agents in New York). After the showcase, I had two auditions and got the Mary Poppins understudy on the tour! I toured for six months, then moved to New York, worked as a standby in Newsies and then re-joined Mary Poppins AS the lady herself. CRAZY!

What’s the most memorable role you ever played?
Most memorable? I would definitely have to say Mary Poppins. This is by far the biggest part I’ve ever had. It’s also the most unique and special show I’ve been a part of. When else does one get to fly and tap dance and sing and pull things out of a magic carpet bag?
I’ve also gotten to play Annie in Annie (a childhood DREAM) and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Those were pretty fun parts.

Did you watch Mary Poppins when you were growing up?
Yes! I watched it all the time. I loved the movie and all the actors in it. It was definitely a go-to. I wanted to play Jane Banks so badly!

Did you ever think you would be playing the role made famous by Julie Andrews?
Absolutely not! It was never ever a possibility. Mary Poppins is such a magical character- something that never really seemed doable by any other human being besides Julie Andrews. And what big shoes to fill! So, when I had my audition, I went and saw the Broadway show and said… Oh yeah. Maybe I CAN do this.

What is the best thing about touring with Mary Poppins?
I love touring for so many reasons. I love seeing the country and getting to perform in so many beautiful theaters, each with its own incredible crew and orchestra. I love the variety it brings to the job. Every week is different!
And every city has a different audience. Each city kind of has similar audiences from night to night. It’s pretty wild! If on opening night, the audience is calm and quiet, we know it’ll be that way for the whole week. But if they’re rowdy and excited, it’s THAT way for the whole week. One city might laugh at one joke, while the next won’t. It’s pretty interesting to see what each city has to offer.
Touring is also special because it kind of forces you to get really close to your cast and crew. When you’re in a new city every week, you don’t have a home life or even your OWN life to go to after work. All we have are each other. The company has really become a family.

Do you still get nervous when you go onstage or is it second nature now?
There’s still so much that can go wrong every night! It gets easier every night, which can also make it harder! The second I get too comfortable with a moment or with a dance step or a high note, is the second it goes wrong. Our show is also enormous and very fast paced. There is so much that is out of my control. It’s all so unpredictable, but that’s why I love live theater! It’s different every night!

What do you and the rest of the cast and crew do for fun while out on the road?
I love to explore each city. Museums, famous landmarks, local restaurants. I also love to host a good game night. We play a lot of cards and Scattergories. We’re also constantly doing fundraising for BC EFA. We make amazing “Spoonful of Sugar” ornaments for the Holiday Season to raise money for BC EFA. The entire company gets involved and the entire thing is handmade by us! We have “Spoon Making Parties” in every city. Lots of hot glue guns and scissors flying around!

In Mary Poppins you get to fly. Do you get scared?
No! It’s actually the safest I feel all show. I am incredibly clumsy and accident prone, so I think I’m safer being OFF my feet.

If you didn’t become an actress, what profession would you have chosen?
I am incredibly interested in fashion and photography. Any sort of career that combines to two would be a dream. I love street fashion photography. Check out Thesartorialist.com. I want his job!

Do you have any advice for someone who is an aspiring performer?
I think the best advice I can give is to always be yourself. On and off the stage. Each role you play, each song you sing, each line you say, is just an extension of yourself. To be a good performer is to be real. And how can we be real if we’re not being ourselves? It’s all we know. So welcome each day, each challenge, each celebration because it ALL creates us as human beings, which then creates the performers we are.

You’ve been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. How have you overcome this to realize your dreams of being a performer? How has this inspired you to inspire others?
It’s been a tough journey. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was four years old. It was the first day of kindergarten. So, I don’t remember life before my diagnosis. Life has always been a little bit harder for me. Performing has always been a little bit harder for me. Constantly having stage management hand me a juice box, having to push through and do shows when my blood sugar makes me feel sick, makes me feel like I won’t be able to get through the show. It’s not easy. But I’ve never let it stand in my way. It’s a part of me. It’s just one of the many things that makes me me and makes me unique. I haven’t overcome it yet. It’s still something I struggle with every night. But it has never ever made me question doing what I love. If anything, it’s helped my drive. We all look up to those who have had to overcome adversity. If even one kid with juvenile diabetes sees me onstage and sees that I have never let it slow me down, then that is enough.

Mary Poppins is at The Stranahan Theater in Toledo Ohio until March 3rd, tickets are still on sale, start at $28 and can be purchased here.

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