Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Is A ‘Flight’ Of Song, Dance, Magic and Heart!

By Lorenzo Marchessi

Disney has done it again on the Broadway stage with director Richard Eyres’ amazing interpretation of the Julian Fellowes book along with some brand new fantastic songs by composers George Stiles and Anthony Drewe – adding to the memorable (and Academy Award winning) music from the original movie from songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman. Mary Poppins at the LA Ahmanson Theatre was fantastic to see!

Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins

The set and costumes came from the colorfully creative mind of Bob Crowley and were ingeniously used in a ‘magically’ fluid style which constantly fed your eyes with whimsical candy and would make the original author P.L. Travers very proud! (Including Rooftops and Magical Paintings!)

The heart of the production was Mary Poppins herself – played brilliantly by actress Kerry Conte. Kerry’s incredible poise, sense of timing and ‘spit-spot’ attitude was sharp and well-delivered – one might say it was – spot-on! Her voice was enchanting and incredibly passionate. Her charm and chemistry with both the children and Bert were real and sensitive.

Nicholas Dromard who brightly portrays the timid and yet influential chimney sweep Bert, has an amazingly charming appeal and an incredible voice that you may actually find yourself singing along with him. Along with Kerry and company he has amazing dance capabilities – including his solo tap performance that brings him literally up and around the entire proscenium of the stage itself – where he sings and dances upside down!

The next most amazing vocal and acting wonder was that of actress Q. Smith whose power-house performance was showcased by not only playing the Bird Woman but also the ‘horrible’ Miss Andrews – the original Nanny to the families father George Banks. Her vocal range and tenacity literally had the audience applauding and cheering every time she sang. Her Miss Andrews alone was hauntingly scary and diabolical especially with her solo number “Brimstone and Treacle!”

Other standout performances included Michael Dean Morgan as George Banks who’s portrayal of the trouble English father was very emotional; Zach Timson as Michael Banks the son of the troubled banker has great acting chops and comic timing as well as an incredible voice; Elizabeth Ann Berg as Katie Nana was not only extremely funny – she has a great vocsal range as well; Benn Atkin as Neleus who is a park statue that comes to life and is an extremely elegant dancer as well as having a great musical voice too and finally Tonya Thompson as Queen Victoria/ Mrs. Corry – has my favorite ensemble number of “Super…” and is quite funny musically!

Mary Poppins-Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Mary Poppins-Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

The best musical number include some fanciful new lyrics to the classic “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and an incredibly choreographed dance number that included feet, body movement and hand signals to spell out the title song – choreographed by Mathew Bourne. Another amazing number was the rooftop dance number and tap routine to “Step In Time”. Both numbers gave birth to a roaring cheer and applause from the audience.

Other heartwarming musical number includes the heart breaking “Feed The Birds”, as well as the classics “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and the inspiring finale of “Anything Can Happen If You Let It!”

Technically the musical was filled with onsite magic acts – like Mary Poppins carpet bag filled with lamps, plants and a magical bed that appears from a blanket. Not to mention the amazing wirework where Mary Poppins literally flies out over the audience – umbrella in hand – with another rousing applause from the audience!

What a lavish and colorful production filled with toe-tapping music, fanciful dance and a timely heart driven message of remember to keep your focus on what is important in life – your family and friends! Don’t miss this one!

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