Put in a song, “A Spoonful Of Sugar”, that won’t leave your head for days, add a flying nanny named Mary Poppins (Madeline Trumble), stir in a show stopping chimney sweeper called Bert (Con O’Shea-Creal) and for the icing on the cake put a cast of 30 on stage, aided by an orchestra led by Daniel Bowling of 20 players, mainly local musicians, and have them sing, dance and spell “Supercalifragilisticexpialido
cious” and you get that Disney magic recipe co-produced with Cameron Macintosh.
Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman wrote the songs for the movie while George Stiles and Anthony Drewe not only worked on original songs but added new material making the ‘old’ songs sound fresh. The new score melds in with the old one and includes “Anything Can Happen” , “Cherry Tree Lane” and ‘Precision and Order”.
The cast including Madison Mullahey (who alternates performances with Julianna Rigoglioso) as Jane and Eli Tokash (who alternates with Zachery Mackiewicz) as Michael, the children of George (Ben Cherry) and Winifred ( Elizabeth Broadhurst) play their roles with a lot of energy, especially the children who have to dance, sing and act on the level of the adults. As the house staff Tregoney Shepard and Blake Segal supply the comic relief and Karen Murphy, as the Bird Woman, sweetly sings “Feed The Birds”.
The book by Julian Fellowes is a little deeper and darker than the movie was while the ever changing scenic and costume designs bring applause from the audience. The original choreography really shines during the “Supercalifragilisticexpialido
cious”, and the rousing encore number that gets the audience clapping and the kids sitting in front of me spelling! Talking about the children in the audience, they represented about a quarter of the sell out crowd and were especially well behaved.
A few special words must be said about Con O’Shea-Creal who brought that extra magic to the show with his singing, dancing, smiles as he takes us through musical as part guide, part narrator but all out entertainer. I don’t think there was a single member of the audience who wasn’t mesmerized by his tap dancing upside down on the ceiling of the stage, in step, even more than watching Mary Poppins fly across that same stage.
First Act; 1 hour and 18 minutes Intermission; 17 minutes Second Act; 1 hour and 5 minutes Strobe lights, stage smoke
Next show at the Arsht Center; The 25th Anniversary production of “Les Miserables” February 26-March