The Drury Lane Theatre Production of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh
Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Mary Poppins is a musical you must see!
There's nothing like children, who are eager to learn and are as sweet as 'A Spoonful of Sugar.' However, not all children are like that; some are rumbustious and will challenge who is the adult and who is the child. It will take an exceptional lady with supernatural powers to transform these little rugrats into adorable little angels. Who other than the majestic and mystical Mary Poppins.
Drury Lane Theatre brings an old Disney favorite for the holiday season filled with magic, imagination, and a "Practically Perfect" personality adjustment nanny every household needs. Mary Poppins is based on the Award-winning Academy film of the same name. It's a magical mixed blend between the 1964 film that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and the children's books by P. L. Travers.
In case you are the few who never seen this heartwarming tale, it takes place at the Bank's family, Edwardian-era London home. Two children are neglected by their parents Mr. and Mrs. Banks (Matt Crowle and Alexis J. Roston), who become very obnoxious and spoiled. Jane (Grier Burke) and Michael (Sebastian Merlo) Banks torture their nannies, hoping they will flee and never return to their home. Their treacherous ways come to a halt when a new nanny visits this dysfunctional family. Utilizing her unique brand of kindness with a few tricks up her sleeves flies in with an umbrella, and oversized doctor's bag filled with magic conjuring that whips them into shape.
Books on the original Mary Poppins had her more stern, ominous, and a little fear-provoking; however, Disney/Mackintosh revealed a bright and cheery side of Mary Poppins that was firm but gentle and kind. Drury Lane Theatre's musical follows the Disney Julie Andrews version of the flying nanny that is softer and loved by everyone she meets.
Mackintosh did keep the marvelous Sherman brothers musical score from the iconic movie version with all of the memorable songs like "Chim-Chim Cher-ee," "A Spoonful of Sugar," and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." He also added additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
Emilie Lynn, who starred as Christine in "Phantom of the Opera," dance and sang into our hearts with a beautiful luminous soprano voice, she embraces the role with a cheerful but firm temperament. Emilie Lynn is exceptional as Mary Poppins. Lynn, looking like a reincarnation of Andrews, we dare to say, would make even the original audience of 1964 gasp with how well she portrayed Mary Poppins.
Pulling this family together is no easy feat when it comes to the distant, rigid parents, Mr. George and Winifred Banks (Matt Crowle) and (Alexis J. Roston ). Crowle is brilliant as Mr. Banks, an astute but rigid gentleman who's has been terrorized as a child by the smugly brutal nanny Miss Andrew (Holly Stauder). Roston pristine voice delights the audience singing "Cherry Tree Kane, Good For Nothing and Being Mrs. Banks." Her role as Winifred Banks, the woman of the house, seeks some form of equilibrium in her marriage, although it may often be infuriating.
The sibling duo was quite impressive. Jane, played by Grier Burke (alternates the role with Nicole Scimeca), the adorable leader of the pair, is pigheaded and selfish. Sebastian Merlo, who plays Michael will tug at your heartstrings, especially when he asks his father to fly a kite with him.
The very talented James T. Lane, who mastered his role as Bert (a character that was embodied by Dick Van Dyke), was Mary's sidekick. A man who is the jack-of-all-trades was amusingly charming and graceful. Lastly, there is Catherine Smitko, who plays dual roles as The Birdwoman and the housekeeper Mrs. Brill whose overbearing staunched poker-face was priceless.
The Co-choreography of Dodge and Josh Walden in Mary Poppins was superbly over-the-top to perfection. The spectacular agility in "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and the sweeping rooftop extravaganza, "Step in Time," was thrilling to watch. Lane also did an extraordinary performance in Paul Rubin's flying sequence, "Step in Time" had him flipping across the starry sky and scaling the chimneys with ease.
Kevan Loney, the projection design, had a reoccurring theme of books. There were massive chimney books. Books that formed the end of the Banks' colossal banister (the one Mary slides up on was quite impressive) and frame the stage together with an immense plethora of cherry blossoms. There were also massive pages that served as screens, which projected stolid bank interiors, and nursery wallpaper.
The creator of "Downton Abbey" Julian Fellowes wrote the 2004 stage musical collaborated with the twin titans of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh to produce his book and struck magic gold. Under Marcia Milgrom Dodge's direction, 'Mary Poppins' exceeded soaring high over the audience as she flew throughout the theatre.
Let's Play 'Highly Recommend' this jolly heartwarming story at Drury Lane.
The Drury Lane Theatre Presents
A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film
Original Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Book by Julian Fellowes
Directed and Choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge
November 15 – December 19, 2019
Filed under: ChicagoNow