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Mary Poppins is taking the Conejo Valley by storm! Wesley Alfvin (the whimsically charming Bert) nearly stops the show with his combined vocals, good looks, and tap dancing skills. So it was with delight that this blogger had the chance to interview Wesley and ask him some of my own burning questions as well as those you lovely readers came up with. So pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two and enjoy getting to know this actor all the more…
Wesley Alfvin: Mary Poppins was one of my favorite films when I was growing up. In many ways it has been a dream of mine to play Bert since I was a child, long before Mary Poppins was a stage musical. While I hope my performance will pay tribute to both Dick Van Dyke and Gavin Lee, I’ve striven to make Bert my own by focusing on the relationship he has with Mary, as well as the other people in his life.
The Joyous Living: You have worked as a Dapper Dan, a song and dance man, at Disneyland. What do you bring to your role from your experience with Disney?
|(c) Wesley Alfvin, Twitter
Wesley Alfvin: Bert is a song and dance man, much like the Dapper Dans, and I’ve definitely drawn on my experience entertaining kids at Disneyland for my scene work with Jane and Michael. One of the best parts about working at Disneyland and singing with the Dans are the interactions I have with guests visiting the park. I see first hand the joy that Disney brings to people’s lives. It’s very fulfilling to work for a company that invests so much in making magic, all with the goal of creating happiness. From fire breathing dragons in a theme park to gravity defying theatrical effects, Disney has done it all. Taking on the role of Bert in this classic story gives me the opportunity to share the magic of Mary Poppins with a new generation of theatre goers.
The Joyous Living: Did the English accents come naturally to you?
Wesley Alfvin: Fortunately the cockney accent came quite naturally for me. However, I did study dialects in college, and we had a wonderful coach (Terry Fishman, who also played Admiral Boom) working with us on this show.
The Joyous Living: Had you seen the show in London, NY or on tour before being cast in Mary Poppins?
Wesley Alfvin: I saw the show both on Broadway and on tour. I would have loved to see the West End production as well, if only to have been able to see the various rewrites in the show that happened between the London and New York productions. There are a few moments on the London cast album that were cut from the Broadway version that would have been fun to see in person, particularly some of the the interactions between Bert and Neleus in Jolly Holiday.
The Joyous Living: Mary Poppins is such a family friendly show and you work with two sets of Janes and Michaels. What do you hope children take away from this show?
Wesley Alfvin: I hope both kids and parents see the importance of quality family time. In an age where many children are stuck in front of computers and iPads to play by themselves, if this show inspires one kid to go outside and learn to fly a kite, or one family to go on a picnic in the park, we’ve done our job.
Many thanks to Wesley for the interview! And if you want to see him put his singing and dancing to good use, be sure to grab some tickets for Cabrillo Music Theatre’s Mary Poppins this weekend at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Southern California. You won’t want to miss out on this Jolly Holiday! And if you are dying to find out more about this song and dance man, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook!