Mary Poppins: A High Flying Dose of Disney Magic

25 02 2010

Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium is currently playing the Disney musical Mary Poppins. With colorful characters, heart-warming stories and memorable music, it’s no wonder Disney has translated so many of its properties to the stage. With smash hits like Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, Disney has been a staple on Broadway for years. Now, in the midst of a North American tour, Mary Poppins can be seen flying across stages and delighting audiences. Here’s the breakdown:

When the dysfunctional Banks family finds themselves nanny-less, a strange woman appears to fill the open position – Mary Poppins. With a bit of magic and some catchy tunes, Mary helps bring the Banks family together again.

The Monkey: Like anything Disney does, the show is a spectacle. Colorful costumes, enchanting sets and unforgettable songs all work together to create the oft-referenced “Disney magic.”

The best music numbers are, as anticipated, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Step In Time.” While the singers were all well-cast, the dancing is the show’s greatest strength. The choreography is incredible, and the actors perform the steps flawlessly.

Surprisingly, one of the best characters was the “Holy Terror,” Miss Andrew, the evil nanny villain. Actress Ellen Harvey was deliciously nasty and had a voice that literally shook the drapes. Her stage time was regrettably short.

The Weasel: The show felt overly long, especially considering all of the children in the audience. The show has to balance a fine line – appealing to the many children who will recognize the story from the movie, and making sure adult theatre-goers are getting their money’s worth. Many of the songs added to the show (that did not appear in the movie) were delegated to Mr. and Mrs. Banks; their ballad-like songs seemed to drag the show along and didn’t do much for children or adult audience members.

After seeing the show, it definitely made me want to see the classic movie again. Disney is the premiere kids’ entertainment company for a reason – they’ve found a way to bottle and sell their “Disney magic,” and we love it. Mary Poppins is just another example of Disney’s quest to spread the magic in as many venues and to as many people as possible.

If you’re not an Arizona resident, check the tour website and see when Mary Poppins is coming to a theatre near you!

3.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Have you seen the show? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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One response

25 02 2010

As a music theatre performance major at ASU, I can wholly say that this kind of musical reminds me why I love doing theater. It was such a tight production with literally no flaws. This was Disney magic at it’s best!

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