Meet the Banks Children! (Jane Shearin and Gabriel Reis)
We spoke to Jane Shearin and Gabriel Reis, who alternate with Michelle Moughan and Brandon Singel, as Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins at Westchester Broadway Theatre. We asked them to share a little bit about their off-stage lives:
Jane: I go to school at Reed Intermediate School in Newtown, CT, where I’m finishing up 6th grade. I would say my favorite subject would be math. . . I just love math. I am involved in the arts at my school, I’m in chorus and an extra chorus program called concert choir. I also participate in my school musical each year. Aside from that, I play the guitar and keyboard.
Gabriel: I am a fifth grader in Tenafly, NJ. My favorite subjects are math and science - and of course gym! I play the French Horn in my school's orchestra and also sing in the chorus. I make sure to keep up with my school work so that I can continue doing the things that I love. My teachers are awesome and very supportive. Sometimes I do my homework in the car ride to the theatre. I have been performing since I was eight.
Jane: I am 11 years old and I’m the youngest in my family. I have an older sister who’s 17 and is going to go to college next year at Cornell, and a 20 year old brother who will be a junior at NYU. My brother did musicals from 7th-12th grade but stopped when going off to college. When I’m with my family I like to have family meals, and play games like badminton and tetherball in our backyard. We’re all very busy so it’s really special to have some family time. I have a very sweet 12 year old Dalmatian named Allie who I love very much. In our backyard we have a barn where we have two horses named Phoenix and Dillon. We also have a chicken coop with 13 chickens and we'll be getting 6 more soon. We have a stand in our front yard where we sell their eggs.
Gabriel: I am an only child. I like having family BBQs in my back yard. We have a pool and big area for playing whiffle ball and basketball. I also like going fishing with my dad and ice skating with my mom. I really want a dog but my parents both work and we are not home enough to take care of a pet. However, I do have a betta fish - requires very little care. I have had it for a year already.
Jane: I had seen the movie version of Mary Poppins prior to being in the show, and I had also seen Saving Mr. Banks, but I had never read the book or seen the musical. I've fallen in love with the musical though!
Gabriel: I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway and wanted to audition for it, but it closed. I am so happy to be playing the role of Michael Banks at WBT! Some of my other favorite shows are Beauty and the Beast and Lion King.
Jane: When I’m not performing, I’m usually reading, singing, dancing, or playing soccer. I’m on a travel soccer team and sometimes I practice in my front yard. I take jazz and tap classes, so I do dance a lot, and singing is just something that I can’t stop doing. My first show was when I was 6 and I was a poodle/Dalmatian in 101 Dalmatians. I've continued performing ever since then and I love what I’m doing.
Gabriel: When I'm not performing, I like to play a lot of sports, including hockey and tennis. I also play on the fall and spring travel soccer team and the summer travel baseball team.
Jane: The music on my iPod is 100% show tunes from many musicals. I’d say Frozen is my favorite movie. Currently, my favorite musicals are Wicked, Newsies, Matilda, and Legally Blonde.
Gabriel: My iPod is filled with theatrical songs and oldies from the 70s and 80s, as well as songs from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, et al. My favorite song right now is Can't Hold Us. One of my favorite movies is Despicable Me 2.
Jane: My dream role? One word. . . . Elphaba. I LOVE Idina Menzel and Wicked is my favorite musical. I love the way Elphaba’s an outsider who makes two friendships that change her life and show that she’s really a great, green person. Other than that I would say Elsa from Frozen because both she and Elphaba aren't afraid to be themselves. . . and they’re both portrayed by Idina.
My best friend and I have this dream that we’re going to be in Wicked together and continue our friendship on the stage. If I don’t make it to Broadway, I’d like to be in a TV series or movie but really. . . Broadway is where I want to be.
Gabriel: A role that I'd really like to play in the future is Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.