In July of 2009, I traveled (by limo – go, me!) to Cleveland to see “Mary Poppins,” the musical. I’d seen quite a few musicals by this time, including ”Wicked” several times. Until then, “Wicked” had been my favorite.
“Mary Poppins” definitely gave it a run for its money.
This afternoon, I traveled (by a very good friend’s car – but still go, me!) to the city nearest me – Pittsburgh – to see “Mary Poppins” again.
Once again, it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it may have been even better the second time around.
It was the first time I’d ever sat in balcony seats. I always managed to get orchestra tickets in the past, but this time I wasn’t really willing to spend that much money, especially when I wasn’t entirely sure who would be my “date.” I also was aware of how the show ended, and I knew I wanted to be up high the second time around. And I was pleasantly surprised with the seats. Though cramped, the view was spectacular, and I highly doubt I’ll ever get orchestra seats again (though I may get slightly closer balcony seats).
Caroline Sheen absolutely shines as the title character, and well she should, having first played the role in the UK tour.
Equally talented is Nicolas Dromard, who has also played Fiyero in “Wicked,” so I obviously wasn’t surprised to see him excel here, as well.
The rest of the cast also delivers in every way, but I’d like to take a moment to mention the children in the production. I’m not entirely certain which cast members played the roles today (two boys and two girls alternate playing Michael and Jane Banks). Whichever young actors were featured this afternoon – and perhaps someone from the show will read this and fill me in – they were outstanding. I often wish I had gotten involved, in some capacity, with my school’s theatrical productions, not that they did many back then, and I think it’s excellent to see these children reaching for their dreams and having the talent to back their dreams up. I recall thinking something similar a couple of years ago, watching the young cast of “Peter Pan.”
This show takes me back to my childhood – which tends to be a theme among my favorite musicals, and, for me, outdoes the film, as live theater often does. It often takes every ounce of willpower I have not to start belting out the songs with them, which I’m certain the rest of the audience would not appreciate. I’d be hard-pressed to note my favorites, from the poignant “Feed the Birds” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” to the lively “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Step in Time.” Each has an uncanny ability to make me laugh or tap my toes or even move me to tears. (Side note: Microsoft Word’s dictionary apparently includes “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” because spell check doesn’t flag it.)
The end of the show left me with some of those tears, as it did the first time, but, fortunately, the curtain call just brings you right back to excitement.
And I couldn’t help but smile as the young girl behind me cried out, “I love you!” as Caroline Sheen took her bow. I love you, too, Ms. Sheen, for taking me back to an easier time, for owning such an iconic role, and for making me believe in magic.
I love you, too.
Update: The spectacular and beautiful Caroline Sheen and the fantastic Nicolas Dromard have informed me via Twitter that the two young stars were Talon Ackerman and Camille Mancuso. You can, if you like, follow Ms. Sheen, Mr. Dromard, and the show’s official Twitter.
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