About Joe Dellger who plays Mr. Banks!
I'm a Midwestern boy. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. I was the fourth of eight kids! Six boys and two girls. Not the worst place in the line but probably not the best either. I'm a "Cheese Head" and my home town is known for producing huge amounts of cheese! It still does. It's the home of Sargento, Sartori, Borden, and a lot of other cheese companies as well. It was the cheese "capital" of Wisconsin, and when I grew up, some said the country. We had a self-congratulatory parade every summer called "The Cheese Derby Day Parade".
My family wasn't in the cheese business. They were plumbers, and continue to be four generations later. Crime there was non-existent and we never had to lock our doors at night. In fact, I never saw keys to our house. I don't think they existed. Everyone but one sister and I are still back there. I always liked singing, and got that love from my mother, who sang with a dance band just before WWII and for a while after it started. Her piano player went into the air force but 50 years later, after my father passed, called her up and they started a late-life romance that ended when he passed as well.
I sang around the neighborhood and sometimes mothers of my friends would ask me to sing songs for them on their porches or in their driveways and I would! I got into the school musical when I was a freshman in high school and all the subsequent years at Plymouth High. I was also in the Mixed Chorus and Swing Choir in those years. I used to sneak into the auditorium during study halls and sit on the stage in the dark and dream about performing. By then, I knew I wanted to be either in music of theater. As it turned out, theater was how it went. My high school music and English teachers were very influential to me. The two of them handled all the musicals. After I spent a summer in the Kids From Wisconsin, an elite musical troop of singers and musicians that were similar to Up With People and did very red, white and blue shows. My acting teacher at the University of Washington was also very influential.
I never saw the Broadway production of Mary Poppins, but I had seen the movie a long time ago. I was surprised to open the script when I got it and saw how large a role George Banks is. About 10 years ago, I did Footloose at the WBT and had a lot of fun. I played the Rev. Shaw. which was another good role where the character changes a lot through the course of the show, just like George.
What I like about WBT is that they do longer runs than most regional theaters anymore. For actors, getting those work weeks is so important to qualifying for insurance. Bill (Stutler) and Bob (Funking) are also really nice guys and I give them and Lisa so much credit for keeping the theater going through the ups an downs of our roller coaster economy.
Joe Dellger as Mr. Banks, with The Banks Family.