In 1997, when I was in New York City casting/directing THE WIZARD OF OZ, the producer wanted me to see Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on Broadway. Ugh. For me, the very idea sounded like Chucky Cheese with music. I obliged the producer, and accepted a $130 seat in the second row.
From what I am told, my back stopped touching the chair the minute the overture began, and by “Be Our Guest,” the folks seated in the front row, directly in front of me, were leaning away from one another since I was hanging on the backs of their seats.
June 2011, Quintin and I celebrated his adoption finalization with Disney’s THE LION KING. It was marvelous. Tonight, we attended MARY POPPINS to celebrate Quintin’s 18th birthday.
I love moments when I am merely an audience member watching a production, and I can be transported far away. Tonight, I was escorted from the Schuster Center’s top balcony, row DD, seat 105.
I’ve only seen the 1964 movie a few times, but have always enjoyed it. The stage musical was everything I want from a musical – a time to be transported – especially after the past several weeks that were stress ridden. I laughed at the witty lines, wiped away a few tears during “Feed The Birds,” cheered several times during “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” dropped my jaw as Bert walked up the proscenium wall and overhead during “Step In Time,” cheered even more throughout “Step In Time,” and simply sat back (some of the time) and enjoyed the magic. The magic that is theatre.
While the story’s line drifts a bit from the movie’s plot line, there is a bit more suspense and drama. The focus is more on the dysfunctional Banks family, and the healing that is inspired by the practically perfect nanny who mysteriously arrives on the scene.
Mr. Banks, originally played on Broadway by Daniel Jenkins (one of my favorite performers), transforms before our eyes (just as Mr. Joshua Logan stressed).
The sets, for a touring company, were outstanding.
The staging and choreography refreshing, entertaining, and exciting.
The sound, however, at times, was a bit much. The children’s voices literally hurt my ears, especially with all their shouting throughout the show. I could barely understand Michael Banks.
Sadly, Mary Poppins had a hideous glottal vibrato cycle that was unattractive, annoying, and under pitch a good deal of the time. Although the actress was supercalifragistlically suited for the role in acting, she was not practically perfect with the delivery of her songs.
Fortunately, there were so many wonderful moments throughout the production, the sound, the children’s voices, the garbled diction of the British accents, and Mary Poppins’ brass-like flutter-tongue vibrato took a back seat to allow the magic to shine.
Tomorrow night, a group of us theatre-folks will attend SWEENEY TODD at Centerville High School, one of Ohio’s premiere high school theatre programs. I have several students in the production; one student will play “Anthony,” and another will be lead keyboard. As always, I am eager to see a CHS production, and especially, the fine artistic and technical talents of Mike Cordonnier, who along with another Miami Valley great, Terry Stump, creates some of the most incredible sets.
Here is one of my favorite moments from MARY POPPINS – “Step In Time.”
“If you reach for the stars, all you get are the stars;
but we’ve found a whole new spin if you reach for the heavens.
You get the stars thrown in. If you reach for the stars all you get are the stars, But we’ve found a whole new spin, If you reach for the heavens, you get the stars thrown in. Anything can happen if you let it life out there waiting; So go and get it grab it by the collar, seize it by the scruff; Once you’ve started living life you just can’t get enough. Anything can happen, it’s official. You can choose the super or the superficial. Sally forth the way we’re steering. Obstacles start disappearing. Go and chase your dreams, you won’t regret it. Anything can happen if you let it.