Rosarian student’s flying high in starring role

April 23, 2019
Palm Beach Daily News


Mia Pariseleti says she expected to learn many things as a student at Rosarian Academy, and has in her eight years at the school, but says she never once thought she’d learn how to fly there.

But the 14-year-old eighth-grader did exactly that, joining classmates Nicole AtteridgeMarcello FiorentinoLayna Steele and Crede Janson in high-tech harnesses in late April to learn how to play their aerial roles in “Mary Poppins Jr.”

Performing isn’t Mia’s first love; volleyball is. She plays middle blocker, a demanding, largely defensive position, on her club team, Orlando Tampa Volleyball Academy. She also was named MVP of Rosarian’s team in the fall. She also played defender for the Raiders’ girls soccer team.

Off the court, she’s president of the school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Compared with her athletic and academic achievements, though, her theatrical repertoire was less extensive.

When she tried out for a spot in “Mary Poppins Jr.” she had a certain role in mind but no say in who got selected.

“I just tried out,” she said. “You don’t get to try out for any specific role, but I wanted to be Mary Poppins.”

She aced the tryout. Mia was a great fit for the role of the magical nanny, director Robert Sherman said. Her height was right and her voice was perfect.

“She has a beautiful voice,” Sherman said. “Her mom says she sings Broadway songs around the house all day long.”

The musical is produced and directed by Sherman, with musical direction by Gay Dedo, choreography by Jeanne Bennet, scenic and lighting design by Ardean Landuis, scenic painting by Sage Neighbors, and costume design by Jeanne Bennett and alumnus William Linn, from Rosarian’s Class of 2001. The rigging and aerial work is handled by Louisville, Kentucky-based ZFX.

Mia, as Mary Poppins, will lead the Banks family through the 70-minute performance of the classic 1934 P.L. Travers book made popular in the Walt Disney films. The musical shows off the talents of 32 third- through eighth-grade students.

Rosarian Academy will perform “Mary Poppins Jr.” at 7 p.m. May 10 and 11, and 2 p.m. May 12 at 807 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults at ra.booktix.com.

A full dress rehearsal and play preview for Rosarian students will take place at 9:45 a.m. May 9. Local preschools and elementary schools are invited to the performance.

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