Revival of Broadway Musical Mary Poppins Enchants Audience at the Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 By: Jerry Eimbinder Source: Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Patch

Strange perhaps, there was nary a kid in the audience as English nanny Mary Poppins glided down to the stage on opening night at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford. Although the virtually all-adult audience expressed its appreciation with ongoing applause, few Broadway musicals can match this one for viewing as a family togetherness experience. Maybe the absence of children at the theater was because of homework or studying for finals.

This is a wonderful and wholesome "first show" for little kids as young as six years old although perhaps a bit too long at two hours and 45 minutes including a 30-minute intermission. If the late hours discouraged bringing the kids (the predictable happy ending occurs about 15 minutes before 11 p.m.), lots of matinee performances are scheduled during the run of the play. Check the box office for discounted rates.

The abundance of the stuff that Mary Poppins pops out from her bag is great fun to see but the show stopper has to be an energetic, tap-dancing ensemble number in the second act called Step in Time.

An absolutely gorgeous Lauren Blackman gets my vote as the best looking nanny ever. Clearly, she has an amazing voice too. Strong performances are turned in by the Banks children—alternately played by Michelle Moughan or Jane Shearin (as Jane Banks) and Gabriel Reis or Brandon Singel (as Jane's younger brother Michael).

A character called Miss Andrews (I'm not referring to Julie Andrews, cast as Mary Poppins in the Disney movie) is downright stern and nasty. She enters late in the show as a nanny and younger kids may find her scary—Miss Andrews is played convincingly by Jan Neuberger. Leo Ash Evens, turns in a strong performance; he has the unenviable task of recreating the role of Bert played in the movie masterpiece by the veteran TV actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke. Richard Stafford excels as usual as the director.

The tunes are absolutely delightful and include A Spoonful of Sugar, Jolly Holiday, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Cherry Tree Lane, Practically Perfect, A Man Has Dreams, Feed the Birds, Let's Go Fly a Kite, Anything Can Happen, Step in Time and of course Supercalifragilistiexpialidocious.

The sets are colorful and appropriate, the Edwardian costumes impress, and sound/lighting is every bit as professional as the best productions on New York City's Broadway.

Mary Poppins is based on the children's books of P.L.Travers and the 50-year-old movie made by Walt Disney Productions bearing the same name. The film, released on August 27, 1964, received thirteen Academy Award nominations and won five 1964 Oscars. But it lost out for Best Picture to My Fair Lady although grossing thirty percent more at the box office than the Audrey Hepburn/Rex Harrison movie.

Mary Poppins opened on stage in London in December, 2004 and on Broadway nearly two years later. The play ends its run at the Westchester Broadway Theatre on July 27, 2014.

Ticket prices range from $52 to $80 per person plus tax and include dinner or lunch. Discounts are available for seniors, children and groups at selected performances. Parking is free.

 

Mary Poppins Performances

 

Matinees

Wednesday (not in July): Lunch at 11:30 a.m. and show at 1 p.m.

Thursday and Friday: Lunch at 11:30 a.m. and show at 1 p.m. Sunday: Lunch at noon and show at 1:30 p.m.

Evenings

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Dinner at 6:30 p.m. and show at 8 p.m. Sunday: Dinner at 5:30 p.m. and show at 7 p.m.

For more information or to order tickets, go to www.broadwaytheatre.com or call 914-592-2222. Westchester Broadway Theatre, Elmsford, NY, www.broadwaytheatre.com Photo Photo by John Vecchiolla.From left: Michelle Moughan (as Jane Banks), Leo Ash Evens (as Bert), Lauren Blackman (as Mary Poppins) and Brandon Singel (as Michael Banks).