By Kate Lukas
We all know Mary Poppins from the 1964 Academy Award-winning Walt Disney film Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
The main character, Mary Poppins, who is “practically perfect in every way,” becomes a nanny to Jane and Michael Banks, taking them on adventures one can only dream of.
The stage version, recently featured on the Mainstage at Proctors Theatre, is just as dreamlike as the film version, with lively sets, costumes, lighting, exuberant acting, singing, dancing and of course, flying.
The musical opens with an adapted version of “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” performed by Bert (Con O’Shea-Creal). His happy-go-lucky personality and interactions with the audience are quite charming and comical.
In the number “Practically Perfect,” Mary Poppins is introduced to the skeptical Jane and Michael, who are reluctant to have a nanny.
It is evident from her first number that Madeline Trumble, who plays Mary Poppins, does an excellent job emulating Julie Andrews’ stellar performance in the film. Her appearance, voice and acting highlighted the slightly cheeky, yet caring character of the “Supernanny.”
Elements of the set were also praiseworthy. The audience favorite seemed to be the set change during the transition to “Jolly Holiday,” as the crowd applauded and marveled over the brightness and colorfulness on stage.
In general, the costumes and set were magnificent and demonstrated why the musical received seven Tony Awards nominations.
The cast also comprised of Michael Dean Morgan, who plays George Banks and Elizabeth Broadhurst, who plays Winifred Banks. They create a complicated relationship that makes the theme of the importance of family all the more poignant.
Madison Ann Mullahey/Julianna Rigoglioso and Zachary Mackiwicz/Eli Tokash, who alternately (by performance) play Jane and Michael, also have an unforgettable performance. The childrens’ performances were just as impressive as the adults’. Their energy and excited voices brought a fresh aspect to the show.
Although the stage version is not a direct adaption of the film, the majority of the songs performed and the storyline remain the same.
The stage version allows the audience to use their imagination, just as Jane and Michael Banks are encouraged to do by Mary Poppins and Bert.
The musical emphasizes the value of family even more than the film does and is equally as heartwarming.
The moving number “Feed The Birds” performed by Trumble and Karen Murphy, the Bird Woman, touches on the overlooked act of being kind and giving, as well as the value of a penny.
The classic “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” had unique and sprightly choreography that had the audience clapping to the music by the end of the number.
The visual effects of “A Spoonful Of Sugar” were creative and funny, “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” made you feel nostalgic of your childhood and “Anything Can Happen” left the audience feeling like anything truly can happen.
One unexpected and slightly frightening number performed by Miss Andrew, Mary Poppin’s replacement (also played by the multi-talented Karen Murphy) was a new song, “Brimstone And Treacle.”
“Step In Time” was the most choreographically complex number. The chimney sweep, Mary Poppins, Bert, Jane and Michael all participated in the huge dance number.
There is also an impressive surprise toward the end of this song; let’s just say Mary Poppins is not the only one who can defy gravity in this musical production.
This production ran from October 2 through October 7 at Proctors located in Schenectady, and is still playing on Broadway. It is currently the 30th longest running show in Broadway history.
Adults will love this magical show just as much as the kids!