‘Poppins’ role practically perfect for Barrington teen

No matter how many productions Madison Gloria Olszewski is in, she’s always a little nervous at first.

Who wouldn’t be when working major theaters at the age of 14?

“Of course I get nervous, but it’s a good kind of nerves. They help me to show the audience I perform to the best of my ability,” the Barrington teen said.

Olszewski hopes to do just that in Marriott Theatre’s current production of “Mary Poppins,” running through Jan. 5 at the Lincolnshire theater. She shares the role of Jane Banks — one of the magical nanny’s young charges — with Caroline Heffernan.

“It’s such a fun show, and I feel like so many families can relate to the Banks’ situation,” Olszewski said of the musical. “It’s so lighthearted and it’s really entertaining for all ages.”

Olszewski has already worked in many different productions throughout her career including Marriott’s “White Christmas” and Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “Sunday in the Park With George.”

“The first musical I did was 5th grade; then I did community theater and I told my mom this is what I really wanted to do,” she said.

With her role in “Mary Poppins,” Olszewski feels the complexity of Banks’ transformation is shown especially well in the beloved tale of a special nanny’s effect on a family of four.

“Jane at the beginning of the play is very bratty and isn’t very happy that Mary Poppins is here, and by the end of the play Jane sees the good that Mary Poppins has brought to her family,” Olszewski said. “It’s always fun to play the little brat, but Jane really changes throughout the musical and by the end she is really able to have an open mind.”

Olszewski was out of school for the weeks of rehearsal, but heads back now that the show has opened. She is a freshman at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, an exclusive high school of only 150 students.

Though she will have to catch up, Olszewski is at a school where the focus is on theater, making it easier. Still, she might take a breather after her current role wraps.

“After ‘Mary Poppins’ I might take a break because it’s kind of hard being a freshmen and being out for so much time,” she said. “I think I’ll be involved with the school shows and do something like that.”

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