Reporting Sara Pelissero
When Mary Poppins flies into Minneapolis on her trusty umbrella — yes, fingers crossed she won’t be swept up in yet another April snowstorm — she’ll bring one of our own home.
Elizabeth Ann Berg was born in Eagan but grew up in Mendota Heights. She attended St. Paul Academy and participated in several theater productions in Minnesota, before hitting the road in a national Broadway tour.
Now she’s living her dream — with a spoonful of sugar.
Q: Do you still have family in the Twin Cities area?
A: Yes. My whole family.
Q: So what will it be like to come back home and be able to perform in front of everyone?
A: It is a dream come true. I feel like I’m going to be emotional all week. I’m so excited. My parents and my sister and brother have always been extremely supportive but to be able to come back and actually show them that what they’ve supported me in, I’m actually making a living at and I’m enjoying. And my voice teachers, and all my acting teachers, for them to see me, it’s really going to be thrilling.
Q: You spent time at The Children’s Theater Company, MacPhail Center for the Performing Arts, etc. Have you alerted everyone you’re coming?
A: Oh yes. I’m having coffee with all of them and they’re coming to see the show. It’s going to be so great.
Q: “Mary Poppins” is such a classic. What were your first memories of the show?
A: I think my first memory, other than when I saw the movie as a child, it was when my sister took me to see the Broadway show, “Mary Poppins.” And I didn’t want to go at first but she was like, ‘It’s so great. I saw it in Minnesota when it was here the first time. You have to see it.’ And the second I saw it, I loved it. And I actually auditioned for the show a week later. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, this is so beautiful and unexpected.’
Q: What did you think when you saw the movie?
A: I loved the movie. My parents raised me on the movie.
Q: How does the musical production compare to the film?
A: This production is a combination of the film and the book, that the film was based on. You’ll see a lot of the same songs, the same dance numbers, same characters, but you’ll also be introduced to new and exciting characters and some new songs. So it’s kind of like a jazzed up version of the movie.
Q: What’s it like being part of this cast?
A: It’s really wonderful. I’ve been a part of the cast since the very beginning. I started the first day of rehearsal, the first day of the tour and I have made some life-long friends. I’ve gotten to know some actors young and old that have really helped me grow as a performer and just as a person. Working together 24/7, touring together, I think we all make each other better people.
Q: As far as the music goes, are there any surprises?
A: Well people can definitely look forward to some Disney magic — it’s very unexpected, it’s very exciting and it’s one of the most thrilling parts of the show. We have a big number “Step In Time,” which I’m sure everyone is familiar with — the chimney sweep tap number — and there’s a big moment in “Step In Time” where you should be on the edge of your seat waiting for. Very exciting.
Q: When you get back into town, will you visit any of your local stomping grounds? What do you like to revisit?
A: I always miss — I have a silly thing. I just love being home, my home is one of my favorite places, but I love going to classes at CorePower Yoga on Grand Avenue and then going across the street and going to Cafe Latte. I think Cafe Latte has the best cheesecake in America. I’ve tried a lot of food around the country, and I’m telling you, Minnesota has some of the best places to eat, especially Cafe Latte for bread and chocolate. Those chocolate croissants, phew.
Q: How long have you been on tour?
A: I’ve been on the road for about a year and four months now. I started Dec. 19, 2011.
Q: What’s it like traveling on tour, across the country?
A: It’s amazing. I’ve seen things that I would never see in “normal life.” I’ve seen some really fascinating museums. I love being able to tell people about the cities I’ve seen, if they’re going on a business trip or to see family, I can recommend places and yoga studios across the country, which have been very fascinating. It’s just been amazing. It’s kind of surreal to think about. Sometimes I have to pinch myself from time to time and realize how lucky I am to be able to do all these things at such a young age — and be able to perform on top of that.
Q: Anything else you want to mention?
A: I can’t say enough about how excited I am to come back home and just to be in Minnesota. I think people in Minnesota will really appreciate the show. I know that when I was growing up, I was surrounded by people who really appreciated the art. I’m really excited to be able to share that with what I consider my people. I’m just so excited to be on that stage. It’s a dream come true!
“Mary Poppins” runs at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis from April 23 to April 28. For tickets or more information, click here.