Magic of ‘Mary Poppins’ hits Broadway

The ever-resourceful Bert sweeps across the stage during “Step in Time” from the musical Mary Poppins.By Marissa Alavarces

“Precision, Order and Nothing Less.” That’s what George and Winifred Banks ask for in a nanny. They receive a great surprise when Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. The “practically perfect” nanny has been commemorated in the Broadway musical Mary Poppins, which brings all the magic and music from the original film and book series to life on stage.

The Banks’ two children, Jane and Michael, have driven away every last nanny their parents have hired. When Mary Poppins shows up, however, she takes the children on adventures that they will never forget — including a few mishaps with Mary Poppins’ friend Bert — and treats them like no other nanny has before.

When everyone least expects it, Mary Poppins mysteriously leaves and Mrs. Banks does what she thinks is best. She gets Mr. Banks’ childhood nanny, Miss Andrew, to come and be the children’s nanny. What Mr. Banks never told anyone was that Miss Andrew isn’t who everyone thinks she is.

Mary Poppins finally returns just as mysteriously as she left and gives Miss Andrew a taste of her own medicine. Mary Poppins stays just long enough to show the Banks family that they really don’t need a nanny anymore.

The cast does a marvelous job of replicating the characters created in the movie and in the book, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. They truly bring the story of this London family in need of a great nanny alive.

Ashley Brown, who plays Mary Poppins, delivers the part of the cheery, persistent and lovable nanny as perfectly as I could have imagined. She portrays Mary just as well as Julie Andrews does in the movie. She makes it seem like everything is fun and happ y; she also makes the audience want to join in on her various adventures.

Gavin Lee, who plays Bert, not only stars in this production, but also starred in the production in London. His charming performance makes it seem like the audience is watching Dick Van Dyke play Bert all over again. He humors the audience with his smirks and his cute and silly remarks to Mary Poppins.

One of the most astonishing scenes occurs when Mary brings the children to a candy shop during one of their many escapades, and Mary breaks into the song
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Everyone at the candy shop sings the song and they all began to dance as well. It is definitely one of the most energetic pieces in the show.

Another scene that is absolutely amazing occurs during the song “Step in Time.” In this number, Bert is a chimney sweeper and all the other sweepers pop out of the chimneys. They all begin to join in, kicking their legs in the air to the beat. The acrobatic number had the audience clapping along.

The set is unique in that it goes from being the main part of the Banks’ house to the upstairs nursery. The roof of the house lifts up, revealing Jane and Michael’s nursery. There are many different backdrops and sets of scenery, all of which are very colorful.

The costumes are very similar to the outfits in the film version and are extremely colorful in several scenes of the show. One the most impressive outfits is the costume of the candy shop owner. Her dress is bright orange and bunchy; I have to say it is definitely one of the most interesting dresses I have ever seen.

Seeing the film version and reading the book is nothing compared to catching a glimpse of it live right in front of you. The Broadway version of this children’s classic is an outstanding production that you won’t want to miss.

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