Mary Poppins- Simply Magical!Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 By: Camille Kaiser Source: Cue Magazine
With music and lyrics by the Academy Award winning Sherman Brothers and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, a book by Julian Fellowes (creator of “Downton Abby”), the musical is based on a series of children’s books by P.L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film. As soon as the lights went up, I immediately felt the excitement of childhood, and, under the expert direction and choreography of Richard Stafford and the musical direction of Leo P. Carusone, the magic of theatre had begun.
Bert, (Leo Ash Evans) a jack of all trades, introduces the audience with energy and flair, which he maintains throughout the entire production, to Cherry Tree Lane ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"), the home of George and Winifred Banks (Joe Dellger and Leisa Mather) who have created a lovable, convincing married couple. Michael and Jane Banks (Gabriel Reis and Michelle Moughan) their naughty children charm the audience with their wit and beautiful voices (“The Perfect Nanny“). Their Irish cook, Mrs. Brill (Karen Murphy) and odd-job man, Robertson Ay (Matias Stegman) add an abundance of humor, agility and vocal talent (“Cherry Tree Lane”) and are the finishing touches to the frenetic Banks household.
The enchantment begins when Mary Poppins skillfully portrayed by Lauren Blackman, who from the moment she “flies in,” captivates the audience with her beauty, vocal talent and charm. Ms. Blackman’s performance is flawless. She immediately takes charge with full confidence (“Practically Perfect”) and wins the hearts of the children.
“Jolly Holiday”, with Bert, Mary, the children and the ensemble is a clever show stopper The ensemble is also outstanding in “A Step In Time” as chimney sweeps and in “Playing the Game” as the childrens’ toys. Of course the favorites, “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” were as enjoyable as ever. The entire cast was dazzling. Kudos to Jan Neuberger as the nasty nanny, Miss Andrew, and the bank chairman (Peter Cormican and the bank clerks (“Precision and Order)”.
The brilliant set design (Steve Loftus), lighting (Andrew Gmoser) and costuming (Derek Lockwood) created an enchanting atmosphere. While the show ran just a bit long, the magic never waned and it brought the audience, including this reviewer, to its feet. The production continues through July 27th. Bring the family! For reservations, call 914-592-2222.