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Meet 'Mary Poppins' cast member Curtis Schroeger

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Mary Poppins cast member Curtis Schroeger says the Disney show about the magical nanny and her influence on the dysfunctional Banks family reminds him of his own teen years.

"The character arc of the father, George Banks, reconnecting to his family that he’s neglected, in my own family life, it resonates with me," says Schroeger, who's touring Florida with Poppins, which arrives Tuesday for five days at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

"My family, we went through a divorce," recalls Schroeger, 29, a Florida State University musical theater grad. "For my two younger sisters, that division in my family ... we didn't have the full presence of both my parents. They separated right before my freshman year of college."

Since FSU (where he also was a competitive diver), Schroeger has toured in three Broadway productions: Poppins, South Pacific and Fiddler on the Roof.

He's based in New York, but spends most of his time on the road.

"New York’s kind of tricky," Schroeger says. "You have to be in New York to get work, but 80 percent of the work is not in the city.

Schroeger says he interested in eventually producing,directing and choreographing musicals.

He's been active in Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, appeared in the annual 2009 "Broadway Bares" fundraiser and recently organized a Broadway Cares cabaret for the Poppins company called "A Very Mary Christmas."

Schroeger, 29, grew up in Overland Park, Kansas -- beef country. His family has long participated in barbecue competitions.

After taking a college class in the history of India,Schroeger for a short time became a vegan.

Says Schroeger: "It was harder to tell my father that I was not eating meat anymore, than to tell him I was gay."


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