BY CARY GINELL
In Cabrillo Music Theatre’s forthcoming production of Mary Poppins, the part of Bert, the chimney sweep/sidewalk artist/one-man band is being played by Wesley Alfvin. Alfvin got his first theater credit in a big way, appearing in the ensemble for the first national tour of the revival of 42nd Street (2002-2003). He has since performed in other shows, such as Singin’ in the Rain, The Drowsy Chaperone, and the radio drama version of It’s a Wonderful Life. He also entertains at the Disneyland Resort and has his own video production company, which specializes in HD archival videos of theatrical productions.
VCOS: Have you worked with Cabrillo before?
WESLEY: This is my first show at Cabrillo and I’m really excited to be here.
VCOS: How do you attack a role that has been so ingrained in people’s memories as being defined by Dick Van Dyke? How do you engage the audience into not comparing you with his characterization?
WESLEY: I think the important thing to do is not to try and recreate what anybody has done before and come at it with a fresh look. And that’s what I’m looking forward to doing. I’ve admired Dick Van Dyke since I was a little kid. I remember watching him do “Step in Time” when I was little and remembering giving my rewind button a really good work out. But I’m really excited to make it my own and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
VCOS: How are you going to make Bert different?
WESLEY: You’re going to have to come and see the show and find out!
VCOS: What are some of the other shows that you’ve done?
WESLEY: I did a wonderful production of Singin’ in the Rain over the summer. I’ve been fortunate enough to play Don Lockwood a handful of times. I love all those song-and-dance-man musicals and I love tap dancing.
VCOS: Is there something unique or special about Mary Poppins that raises it to another level above other shows?
WESLEY: This is definitely special. It’s going to be a magical show. The thing about Mary Poppins is, that because the movie is so popular, everyone already has a connection to it, so it draws people in. And they want to see how they make the nursery come to life on stage, and we’re going to do that, and how does Mary Poppins fly, and we’re going to make that happen too. So a lot of the movie magic that you see in the film will translate onto the stage.
Mary Poppins plays at the Fred Kavli Theatre from April 19 – 26. For dates and showtimes, visit the VC On Stage Calendar.