A “Jolly Holiday” with Mary Poppins at New Amsterdam Theater in New York City #DisneyDreamWorksEvent
I have a Bucket List, and this past weekend allowed me to cross off two of the things I have always wanted to do off that list. I am incredibly grateful to Disney and DreamWorks for including Simply Stacie and me on this amazing trip to experience a bit of New York City and also to see a Broadway show–on Broadway! Never did I think I would get to do either of these things, but two dreams of mine have now come true.
The night we arrived in New York City, we were whisked off in two vans to the New Amsterdam Theater (214 West 42nd Street) where Mary Poppins is now in its 6th year. The Walt Disney film Mary Poppins and the stage musical are based on stories written by author P.L. Travers; in total, there are 9 books featuring Mary Poppins, and they were published between the years 1934 and 1988. Since I haven’t yet read any of the Mary Poppins book (but rest assured that because of my love for this musical, I most certainly will!), I am not entirely sure how similar the stories are.
This weekend was actually my second time seeing Mary Poppins on stage; the first was a few months ago at our local theater, which has Broadway Across America shows. I’m actually very glad that I was able to see the same production twice just for comparison’s sake, but nothing even comes close to the New York City Broadway show experience. Though my own Utah theater has its own interesting historical background, it pales compared to the New Amsterdam Theater’s beauty and history. I’ll you a little more about the theater itself in a separate post; for now, I want to tell you about the show, Mary Poppins.
If you are familiar with either the books or the Disney movie starring Julie Andrews, then you know that there are some special effects that must occur on stage, particularly with Mary Poppins flying. Mary Poppins, who was played by Steffanie Leigh, is mysterious and magical, and the audience will never quite know what to expect from her next. She flies a lot less in the stage performance, but it is so effortlessly done that the audience will believe that Ms. Leigh willed herself into the air; even more impressive is that I didn’t even see the lines of the wires that took her into the air.
For those less familiar with the story of Mary Poppins (the stage musical version), it is about Mr. and Mrs. Banks of Cherry Tree Lane, and their children, Michael and Jane. Mr. Banks is a workaholic with no time for his wife or children, and Mrs. Banks is a former actress trying to adapt to the role of housewife. It’s decided that Mrs. Banks needs a nanny to help her with the children so that she can become a more integral part in London society. Jane and Michael have their own ideas for the qualities that they want in a nanny, but Mr. Banks will not humor them. He tears up their list of qualifications and throws them into the fireplace. The next day, Mary Poppins arrives at their door, with all of the qualities the children wanted.
Through magical games and songs, Mary Poppins teaches the Banks children important life lessons, and also gets Mr. Banks to realize what should be most important in his life: his wife and children, not money or his position at the bank.
The sets, costumes, and talent of the entire cast kept me on the edge of seat, wondering what would happen next. I particularly loved what transpired in the kitchen while Mrs. Banks was preparing for a lunch with Society ladies; this scene is good for laughs, and the set is fantastic. I would have loved a “behind-the-scenes” demonstration of how this particular scenery works.
But by far the most impressive and memorable scene in Mary Poppins is this Step In Time, which requires the actor playing Bert to walk on the ceiling! If you didn’t watch it already, scroll back up and watch the trailer for a snippet of that scene. In order to perform that scene, the actor must really be in terrific shape; he spends a lot of time upside down, dancing and singing at the same time. It’s truly impressive that he is able to do it all without seeming the least bit winded.
Mary Poppins has some of the best sets you will ever see, compelling characters, and unforgettable dance sequences that you can’t help but want to watch over and over again.
For show times and ticket prices for Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater, click here. Mary Poppins can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
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*Disney/DreamWorks provided me with an all expenses paid trip to New York City for screenings of War Horse and Beauty and the Beast 3D, as well as Mary Poppins on Broadway. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*