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MPLanceNew experiences can often be nerve-racking and sometimes even a little scary, but for QCT newcomer Lance Smith, Mary Poppins has been nothing but fun.

Although Mary Poppins is his QCT debut, it’s hardly his first production. Ever since he was a kid, Lance has been a skilled speaker. He loved being in school plays from a young age, which continued into high school. He earned his first lead role his freshman year in a stage adaptation of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Robin Hood was his favorite production in high school, but after graduation, Lance decided to retire from the stage.

So how did he reenter the theatre scene?  “It was actually a Mother’s Day gift,” Lance said.  His mother, Shanda (“Queen Victoria” in Mary Poppins), convinced him to audition for the musical. Although Lance had never read the books or seen the movie, he was excited to audition. When going into his audition, he wasn’t nervous at all, but rather excited.  “You expect the worst and hope for the best.  I’d be happy doing anything.”  He is very grateful to be involved in the production and loves rehearsing with the cast.

After being cast, Lance was very excited to learn how to read music and sing. Claiming his only experiences with singing are “in the shower” and “karaoke on Friday nights,” music rehearsals have greatly helped him. He’s already seeing improvements in his ability to sing with accompaniment — one of the most challenging  aspects of musical theatre for Lance. He also enjoys learning to dance, which is evident every time he takes the stage for “Step in Time.” Lance’s natural energy and charisma is always present, always lighting up the stage.

Lance and Bert have a great deal in common, and their energy is a huge factor. Seldom do you see Lance without a smile on his face. In fact, he’s certain that the only two differences between his character and himself are their jobs and their accents. Lance loves working with the children in the cast and exudes a warm presence when he enters the room. Like Bert, Lance considers himself to be a happy-go-lucky guy.  At rehearsal, he’s always cracking jokes. He also looks for the best in people, much like his English counterpart. His similarities to Bert often help him in his approach to Mary Poppins, allowing him to really feel his scenes. Their like minds aid him in Bert’s motivations and attitude towards Mary, the children, and all the world around him.

His favorite scene is between George Banks and Bert, in which they discuss George’s dedication to work rather than his family.  Not only is it a huge turning point for George, but it also serves as a window into Bert’s past.  To Lance, it is a glimpse of Bert’s childhood. Perhaps Bert had heard these words from his own father and as gone through trials similar to the Banks children. Unlike George Banks, Bert (a working man himself) never puts money before his own happiness or the happiness of those he holds dear. The two men learn a great deal from each other, delivering one of the show’s biggest punches.

If he could play any role in the show (other than Bert), he’d like to play Mrs. Brill, the housekeeper, or Admiral Boom. He has also expressed interest in Caruso, Miss Andrew’s lark, and does a mighty fine impression of a songbird.

The best part of theatre, for Lance, is the story and its ability to touch the lives of others. “Theatre allows us to be something different, to affect people, to learn and do things we never did. The entire cast is awesome. None of us would be able to do it without each other. It’s an experience people should try more often.”

When not at rehearsal, Lance enjoys reading, writing, hunting, and competitive bow fishing.

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