BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let It

BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let It

When Santa Monica's Morgan-Wixson Theatre decided to present MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical as the final production of their 2017-18 Mainstage season, the group had no idea how the old theater adage "The Show Must Go On" would prove the title character's belief that "anything can happen when you let it." You see, the original directing team deserted the production a month before it was due to open, with an incomplete cast in place and tickets already having been sold. How could the challenge be met on time?

BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let ItLet me assure you, thanks to its new directors Kristie Mattsson and Aric Martin, musical directors Andrew Lederman and Daniel Koh, choreographers Lauren Blair and Holly Weber, and producers Anne & Larry Gesling, Spencer Johnson, and Meredith Wright, I would never have known such an additional challenge had been in place given the incredible quality of the production I saw!

Led magnificently by Amanda Greig who shines in the iconic title role and Philip McBride as Bert, the energetic chimney sweep who guides the tale of the troubled Banks family to perfection, the cast of 28 masterful as well as astoundingly athletic performers (and a very cute dog, Willoughby, thanks to puppeteer Ella Ward) lift this musical extravaganza to heights beyond what you would expect could be created on a community theater stage, a practically perfect production that will capture your heart from start to finish.

Adapted from one of the most popular Disney movies of all time, MARY POPPINS the Broadway Musical BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let Ittakes place in England around the turn of the 20th Century. The story begins as jack-of-all trades, Bert, introduces us to the troubled Banks family. Patriarch George Banks (Spencer Johnson) centers his life around "procedure and order," while his wife Winifred (Eileen O'Donnell) soon realizes she is capable beyond just being a wife and mother in "Being Mrs. Banks." O'Donnell shares, "Mrs. Banks is an incredibly relevant character who comes from a time when women were thought of as only domestic. Her character arc lets her finally find her voice, speak her truth, and unleash her passion!"

BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let ItYoung Jane and Michael (super talented kids Sadie Foster and Ethan Kuwata) have sent many a nanny packing before their wish for "The Perfect Nanny" brings the "Practically Perfect" Mary Poppins to their doorstep. But soon, using a combination of magic and common sense, Mary teaches the family how to value each other again via life lessons taught through song and dance, most notable to "look past what you can see," "people often say things they don't mean," "sometimes families can be upside down for a while," "if you can't be good, you might as well be sorry," "be careful what you wish for," and of course, "anything can happen when you let it!"

BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let ItThroughout the musical, Mary takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, including walking past the homeless Bird Woman (Kelly Gabel) who begs them to open their hearts and wallets to "Feed the Birds" (fantastically portrayed with puppets flying around her head), and the most colorful one being their visit with Mrs. Corry (redheaded Kelly Ciurczak) who leads a rainbow-hued ensemble through "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." I guarantee you will find yourself singing along and clapping your hands before this song is over.

BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let ItOther highlights in the production include the tap-dancing chimney sweeps "Step in Time" and the park ensemble's "Let's Go Fly a Kite." Kim Peterson steals the show as the Holy Terror nanny Miss Andrews when she sings "Brimstone and Treacle." Think of the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz" and then make her even more evil to envision Peterson in the role.

And then there's the Banks entertaining household staff, stuffy Mrs. Brill (Deborah Moore) and prat-fall whiz Hollister Starrett as the bumbling butler Robertson Ay. BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let ItDance Captain Steve Weber as Neleus, the park statue which comes to life, and Joel D. Castro as the bombastic Admiral Boom and the bank's Chairman of the Board, both add attention-grabbing artistry to their roles.

As Mary tells us, "You won't know a challenge until you've met it." Congrats to everyone involved in this family-friendly production - you have met and exceeded it!


MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical continues through August 4, 2018 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. EXCEPT July 28 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., July 29 at 2 p.m. (no Friday perf) BWW Review: MARY POPPINS The Broadway Musical Proves Anything Can Happen When You Let ItFinal show on August 4 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (no Friday perf) Audience talk-backs after the Fri, July 13 and Sun, July 29 shows. Performances take place at The Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica 90405. Free parking is available at the Venice Family Clinic, 2509 Pico Blvd. Reserved seats available at www.morgan-wixson.org or by phone at 310-828-7519 or by email at mwtboxoffice@gmail.com. Adults $28, Students and Seniors $23. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Photo credit: Miriam Billington

Related Articles

View More Los Angeles
Stories   Shows




From This Author Shari Barrett

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram