Mary Poppins has come to Glendale with all the enthusiasm and magic that marked P.L. Travers’ children’s book and the 1964 Disney film. From a book by Julian Fellows with original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (brothers in real life) – with new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe – MARY POPPINS premiered in England but soon found a huge following on Broadway, with 2, 619 performances over six years beginning in 2006. Now Mary Poppins has popped in to bring her special brand of sugar and dreams to Glendale, California.
Directed by Zoe Bright with a light but energetic hand, MARY POPPINS has just landed on Cherry Tree Lane in 1910. That’s the England of the Edwardian era, with Angela Manke’s exciting, colorful costumes bringing the time to life. Mary Poppins (Deborah Robin) has come in response to a letter written by Winifred (Elizabeth Eden) and George (Craig Sherman) Banks’ children, Jane (Grace McConnell) and Michael (Andrew Bar). It seems that the mischievous kids have run off yet another nanny and are looking for a replacement, a perfect replacement. And Mary is certainly all of that. Add to the mix the magical Bert (Michael Mantone), Mary’s long-time pal, and you have the perfect pair.
But trouble is brewing on Cherry Tree Lane. George, a banker by profession, just turned down a pushy, nasty loan applicant in favor of a gentle, honest soul – and now the arrogant, “bottom line” guy has gotten the loan from the bank’s competitor – and made them millions. George is in the dog house – and maybe soon in the bread line as well. On top of that, the Banks offspring have become testy with Mary, and she decides to take off to places where she’s appreciated. Enter the new nanny – the tyrannical Miss Andrew (Eloise Coopersmith) from George’s youth. She feels that brimstone and treacle make for obedient kids. How long can George hide in the park before he has to go home and face Miss Andrews anew? Will Mary Poppins ever return with her spoonful of sugar?
MARY POPPINS is a rousing musical with a peppy cast of vigorous, animated dancers and full-voiced singers to make the magic happen. This is a theater-in-the-round offering just so much space to the ensemble – and they make use of every inch of it as they bounce through the numbers. Favorite tunes like “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Anything Can Happen” strum the audience’s heart strings and remind them that childhood dreams really may come true. MARY POPPINS will appeal to the kids – and to the kid in of all of us. Leaving the theater smiling and humming is a refreshing and memorable experience.
MARY POPPINS runs through August 25, 2018, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. The Glendale Centre Theatre is located at 324 N. Orange Street, Glendale, CA 91203. Tickets are $34 ($28 seniors and $20 children). For information and reservations, call 818-244-8481 or go online.