“Practically perfect” Mary Poppins comes to TUTS

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Emily Berthiaume, Editor-in-Chief

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s “practically perfect” musical production of Mary Poppins flew to the TUTS stage at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts from March 8-20. The musical, with music and lyrics by the Sherman Brothers, George Stiles, and Anthony Drewe, and book by Julian Fellowes, is a fusion of the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers and the classic Disney movie.

The Mary Poppins musical originally premiered on West End in London in 2004 and on Broadway in 2006. The heartwarming story of a magically kind nanny saving trouble-making children captured the hearts of many, and when it closed on Broadway in 2013 it had run 2,619 performances, making it the 30th longest-running show in Broadway history.

TUTS’ production was choreographed and directed by Linda Goodrich and starred Christina Deciccio as Mary Poppins. Other actors included Danny Gardner as Bert, Courtney Markowitz as Mrs. Banks, Drew McVety as Mr. Banks, Kelly Lomonte as Jane, and Sean Graul as Micheal.

The show is characterized by its catchy songs, elaborate dance numbers, and bright sets and costumes. Classic songs such as A Spoonful of Sugar, Chim-Chim Cher-ee, and Jolly Holiday, are of course included, alongside numbers just for the musical such as Playing the Game and Practically Perfect. One of the most notable performances was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which was set in Mrs. Corry’s shop, a lady who sells conversation. Although she has run out of conversation, she does have fifteen letters left, out of which Mary creates the magical word. The dance number also includes a sort of spelling-out of the word using the actor’s movement. Step In Time is another notable performance, in which Jane, Michael, Mary, and Bert perform the number with many chimney sweeps on the roof and later inside the Banks residence.

Although every member of the cast was extremely talented, the child actors who played Jane and Michael were particularly impressive. Graul’s deadpan delivery as Michael often caused the entire theatre to burst out in laughter, and Lomonte’s angelic singing voice as Jane was simply beautiful.

Other elements original to the play included the character of Neleus, a statue of a mythological creature in the park that Mary Poppins brings to life to dance and sing. Miss Andrew, Mr. Banks’ evil childhood nanny, is another character added to the play.

Overall, the musical is a faithful adaption of the classic Mary Poppins film, with a few delightful additions guaranteed to charm audiences of all ages. TUTS’ production certainly lives up to Mary’s self-described “practically perfect” attributes.