BY CARY GINELL
Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Mary Poppins includes a variety of Ventura County veterans as well as imports from the Los Angeles area. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be presenting “mini-interviews” with several members of the cast. We begin with David Gilchrist, who has been seen in a number of productions, from 1776 (Cabrillo Music Theatre) to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (ARTS – Simi).
VCOS: It seems that whenever there is part for a Brit here in Ventura County, you’re never far away, even though you’re Australian.
DAVID: I was very lucky. I happened to be speaking to an old friend and she said they were auditioning for Mary Poppins. And I said, “Well, I’m a little old to play Bert and a little young for the older parts,” but I thought I’d go along and give it a shot. Fortunately, I got a callback and here we are!
VCOS: Is this show any more special than others you have done?
DAVID: When we did Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I just fell in love with the way the Sherman Brothers were able to re-create this sort of old English vaudeville feel. The whole atmosphere at rehearsals is electric. The kids are phenomenal and the music all speaks for itself. It was the same way in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It just comes alive. It just lifts the place up.
VCOS: The story has been adapted from the movie. Your character is the bank chairman.
DAVID: Yes, I’m doing the part that Dick Van Dyke did – the bank chairman.
VCOS: In the movie, he’s called Mr. Dawes, Sr.
DAVID: Is that his name? I’ve never known that. Mr. Dawes! People ask me, “What’s your character,” and I say, “Well, I haven’t really got a character name. It’s “Bank Chairman.” I thought I was a bit young for the part, but I’m doing it anyway.
VCOS: So do you get to float?
DAVID: Well, I do the ensemble and the musical director keeps telling me, “You don’t have to sing, you know,” but I told her, “But I want to sing everything!” It’s like we did in Chitty, we were able to get back stage and help the singers and dancers out. But the dancers in this show are phenomenal. Every number is just electric.