Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is not a Harry Potter spell. In fact, it comes from the award-winning, “Practically Perfect” musical, Mary Poppins! For the first time, Disney’s Mary Poppins is touring all around the USA. I was thrilled when Mary Poppins flew into LA!
The lights dimmed. The curtains lifted. And the musical began, sweeping me away into the superlative world of Mary Poppins. The show did an unbelievable job capturing my mind and turning the magic of Mary Poppins from page to screen to stage!
How do Disney Theatrical Productions and Cameron Mackintosh set up a three-story house on stage every night? The Banks’ house opens up just like a pop-up dollhouse on Cherry Tree Lane. It is obvious that the creative team works together beautifully; the sound design and quick background changes are most impressive. Mary Poppins flying over the audiences’ heads with her hefty umbrella and handbag is impeccable. My favorite special effect takes place in the kitchen, where a little catastrophe happens – tables break, plates roll, and kitchen utensils clatter to the ground.
The costumes are bright, colorful, eye-catching, and simply gorgeous. With more than 200 costumes (not even counting the props), I guess the ensemble has to change from costume to costume at supersonic speed!
The bizarre dance numbers are complex, outstanding, and make the audience want to join in! The cast’s enthusiasm is extremely contagious, and the whole house buzzed with energy. One of the most amazing stunts of the musical is Nicolas Dromard (Bert), a multitalented actor, tap-dancing upside-down on the ceiling of the theater in “Step in Time!”
Another fantastic number is “Supercalifragilistic.” The entire audience claps along with the beat. It is a wondrous sight to see the entire cast spell out all 34 letters with their precise hand gestures! The lively orchestra and the choreography rejuvenate and communicate the infectious enthusiasm, with the spirit of the cast pulsing and thrumming as if they gulp down “A Spoonful of Sugar!”
There are also new musical numbers added that aren’t in the film – an extra little treat for the audience. “Practically Perfect” and “Anything Can Happen” are two of my favorite newbies.
The acting is superb, and I was delighted to see the kids in the role of Jane and Michael Banks, two spoiled, nasty, and mischievous kids. Camille Mancuso (Jane Banks) and Tyler Merna (Michael Banks) sing their hearts out with excellent voices.
And of course, let’s not forget the phenomenal nanny - Steffanie Leigh as Mary Poppins certainly bring the magic alive from the film! Turning work into play, chores into games, and everyday into a splendiferous escapade – what a high-flying, magical extravaganza!
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a world parallel yet so mystical to our own. Mary Poppins is a sprightly musical that is not to be missed!
Check out my interview with Nicolas Dromard and the kid stars of Mary Poppins!
Photo: (left to right) Steffanie Leigh as Mary Poppins, Talon Ackerman as Michael Banks, and Camille Mancuso as Jane Banks perform “Practically Perfect.” National Tour Company of Mary Poppins. (Credit: ©Disney/CML. Photo by Joan Marcus)