Mary Poppins the musical has been a magical sensation from its opening night in London, through it’s UK tour, Broadway (where it is still running) and now the tour which arrived in East Lansing MI at the Wharton Center, where it will soon be a return visitor if the sold out audiences and enthusiastic crowds have any say. (This production moves to the Detroit Opera House Dec 16).
What you get is a wonderful tour production of the show that arrives looking as “spit-spot” as it possibly could given the considerations of touring shows. The set, lighting, cast, and entire production are just sparkling.
To anyone who has seen the show in London or New York, let me answer your questions right off the bat: Yes, Mary does fly across the audience and into the balcony. And yes, the tap dancing surprise moment in “Step in Time” is indeed there. And its theater magic in each instance.
This is a “practically perfect” tour cast. At today’s performance Elizabeth Broadhurst played Mary and was wicked good, and I imagine Caroline Sheen is also perfect in this role. The children alternate performances, so I am not sure which two we saw today, but they were very fine. All performances, in fact, were excellent.
A special standout (besides Ms. Broadhurst) is Nicolas Dromard as Bert (a role I saw Gavin Lee play in London) who makes the role his own with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous smile throughout. With clear voice and very clean tap moves, he’s the heart of this big, boisterous musical. The thief-of-joy Nanny Andrews in this production is played by Ellen Harvey in a superb performance.
No expenses are spared on this tour: this is the real deal. You get smoke where you need smoke. You get stars and confetti where you need stars and confetti; and the energetic cast makes it all come to wonderful life.
This is musical theater at it’s finest and you owe yourself a trip to Wharton Center; or get tickets for the show when it arrives in Detroit at the Detroit Opera House (same production). I can’t imagine too many hard-hearted persons exist who could walk away from this show unmoved. Maybe they exist, but I don’t want to think too much about a world where they do.
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