The Delightful Magic Of Mary Poppins
The Disney and Cameron Mackintosh musical is an inspiring tale that continues to deliver valuable messages
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Emilie Lynn and James T. Lane lead the cast in the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh musical Mary Poppins at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.
IN the Drury Lane Theatre’s reimaged production of the classic Mary Poppins, Emilie Lynn delivers a stellar performance in the role that Academy Award-winner Julie Andrews embodies in Disney’s 1964 film. She sings beautifully; she commands the stage with her charm; and, with umbrella and bag in hand, she flies magically with the greatest of ease.
From the time that Lynn first appears in the seven-time Tony Award-nominated musical (at Drury Lane through January 19), she projects every characteristic usually associated with the famed nanny––the dignity, the sense of authority, the ability to transform the rambunctious Banks kids, Jane and Michael. But as the family-friendly story unfolds, its clear that the talent around her is enormous, beginning with James T. Lane, a limber charmer who takes on the role as the jack-of-all-trades Bert and gives a performance equally impressive as that of Dick Van Dyke’s in the film. Portraying the Banks family are Matt Crowle as the worrying father, Alexis J. Roston as the frustrated mother, and their overly pampered kids, Grier Burke (alternating with Nicole Scimeca) and Sebastian Merlo (alternating with Hunter DiMailig).
With such an abundance of talent (including Holly Stauder and Catherine Smitko), Marcia Milgrom Dodge, wearing two hats, pulls everything together as director and choreographer, arranging some of the most entertaining dance routines that sparkle even more with the burst of color in the wardrobe supplied by costume designer Robin L. McGee. Not to be overlooked are the notable efforts of scenic designer Kevin Depinet, projection designer Kevan Loney and illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, whose responsible for Mary Poppins' breathtaking powers on stage.
Since the 2004 musical is based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Disney film, the Drury Lane version still contains the memorable songs associated with the original production, including “Cherry Tree Lane,” “Practically Perfect,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” "Feed the Birds" and the longtime favorite “Supercalifragilisticexpiialidocious.”
Even though several years have passed since the film’s premiere and the original development of the musical, Mary Poppins the musical continues to be a crowd-pleaser that should bring joy to generations to come.
Emilie Lynn makes her dramatic flying entrance into the theater (above) and (below) meets the Banks' children, played by Hunter DiMailig and Nicole Scimeca. At bottom, Charles T. Lane leads one of the dance routines in the beautifully choreographed musical.
NOTE: Individual tickets are $60–$75; Wednesday and Thursday matinees, $60; Thursday and Sunday evenings, $70; Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees, $75; prices for senior citizens begin at $55 for matinees. Student group tickets are available, as well as dining and show packages. For more information, go to www.drurylanetheatre.com.
Photographs by Brett Beiner