Review Roundup: MARY POPPINS At Paper Mill Playhouse

Paper Mill Playhouse, recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, presents the hit Broadway musical Mary Poppins based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film with original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, book by Julian Fellowes, new songs and additional music and lyrics byGeorge Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and co-created by Cameron Mackintosh. Bank of America is the Major Sponsor of Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins takes us on a magical and memorable journey. It's an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and a little bit of magic. The show received nominations for nine Olivier and seven Tony Awards, including best musical. It's a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious musical adventure!

Directed by Paper Mill's Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee, with choreography by Denis Jones and music direction by Meg Zervoulis, the principal cast features Paper Mill favorite Elena Shaddow as Mary Poppins, Mark Evans as Bert, Dierdre Friel as Mrs. Brill, Liz McCartney as Bird Woman/Miss Andrew, Adam Monley as George Banks,Bill Nolte as Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman, Jill Paice as Winifred Banks, Blakely Slaybaugh as Robertson Ay, Danielle K. Thomas as Mrs. Corry, and alternating as the mischievous Banks children, Abbie Grace Levi and Madi Shaer as Jane with Maddox Padgett and John Michael Pitera as Michael.

Let's see what the critics have to say! (Patrick Maley): Director Mark S. Hoebee also shines here in keeping the show's mood light and quirky. The performances of virtually the entire cast, from Dierdre Friel's delightfully exasperated Mrs. Brill to Liz McCartney's terrifying Miss Andrew, are finely tuned and convey the show's essential gaiety. That is a mood that Hoebee and his team chase down with consistent success. This "Mary Poppins" is a refreshing delight. (Jim Beckerman): But the energy of the cast, the boisterousness of the production under Mark S. Hoebee's direction, and the vigor of much of the dancing choreographed by Denis Jones carry the day triumphantly, for the most part. Kids will love this show. Adults, too, if they don't mind a "Mary Poppins" that is all bustle, with little of the delicacy of the original books or even the Disney film. (Adam Cohen): But the true magic of the production lies in performances. Denis Jones' choreography soars and creates a unique spontaneity - especially in the bigger numbers. This is a wonderfully sung production with expert musical direction by Meg Zervoulis. Liz McCartney brings pathos to the bird lady and fear to a new level as Miss Andrew. Jill Paice is wonderful as Mrs. Banks but one wishes she had more to do. Hoebee's production has stellar dancing, full-throated stentorian singing, winningly relentless pizzazz that magically charms and will leave you singing any one of the memorable numbers for days on end. Grab your umbrella and head to Papermill. There's magic to behold. (Liz Keill): The show probably could have ended with "Anything Can Happen" when the entire company was on stage. But this audience was glad to see more. I could have lived without the fake barking dog, which is more of a diversion than integral to the plot, and the chimney sweeps didn't need to prance thorough the Banks house at the end of the " Step in Time" number. Nevertheless, these are minor observations in a show that's brimming with hope, magic and humanity.

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