Young Prairie Village high schooler featured in SM South’s ‘Mary Poppins’

Zach Greer as Bert with Rose Smithson as Mary Poppins in SM South's production of Mary Poppins. Photo by Patricia Berning Photography.
Zach Greer as Bert with Rose Smithson as Mary Poppins in SM South’s production of Mary Poppins. Photo by Patricia Berning Photography.

A young Prairie Village resident has the honor of filling the shoes of Bert, the beloved jack-of-all-trades famously played by Dick Van Dyke, in SM South’s production of Mary Poppins, running this week.

But being in the spotlight is nothing new to Zach Greer and his family. Greer’s mother is a longtime actress.

“I…have been around theatre my entire life,” Greer said. “But I really got into it last year.”

In the part, Greer gets to deliver classic songs like Chim Chim Cher-ee and Let’s Go Fly a Kite. Bert’s cockney accent proved Greer’s biggest challenge in developing the character.

“Character wise, I watched Dick Van Dyke’s performance a lot to get some ideas as well as Gavin Lee, the man who originated the role on Broadway. For the accent, I listened to some tapes made by college professors, and an interview with actor Timothy Spall who is very cockney!” he said.

One of Greer’s favorite parts of the story is how Mary and Bert get to serve as the saviors of the Banks family

“I was talking with Mark Swezey, our director, and both he and I think that Mary and Bert are basically angels that come down from heaven to save families whenever it’s needed,” he said. “It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!”

Greer lives in the SM East feeder area, but decided to attend Indian Woods Middle School, the SM South feeder, after Mission Valley shut down when he was in sixth grade. He decided to continue on to SM South after finishing middle school.

SM South’s production of Mary Poppins runs through Saturday, with performances at 7:30 p.m. each night and a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday.