Maybe I wasn't the right age when it was released, but like many others in the audience, I never saw the 1964 classic Disney film starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. So when I heard Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire was performing Mary Poppins as their last show of the season, I really wanted to see it.
Using video screens around the theatre with glorious costumes and other staging surprises, this production of Mary Poppins comes off as one of the best. Summer Naomi Smart plays nanny Mary Poppins with elegance, beauty and humor. You'll fall in love with her and get caught up in the magic as quickly as she snaps her fingers. She brings great joy to the role throughout her performance. Bernie Yvon commands the stage as Bert the Chimney Sweet with charm as well as a great voice. The Banks' children, played by Caroline Heffernan, Madison Gloria Olszewski, Johnny Rabe and Brady Tutton are adorable on stage as the brats who just want more attention from their parents. I must mention Rebecca Finnegan, who plays several roles, but stands out as Miss Andrew, the senior Mr. Banks' former nanny. Although she makes a brief appearance, her larger-than-life personality keeps the audience in stitches.
As it has for generations, the music by Richard and Robert Sherman continues to delight with its wonderful score and I was thrilled to see so many youngsters in the audience. Sing a long songs "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," were enhanced by the wonderful, upbeat choreography of Alex Sanchez that will practically take your breath away.
Bring your whole family. Mary Poppins is a splendid introduction to the world of musical theater, playing now through January 5, 2014 with Wednesday and weekend matinees. For tickets, call 847-634-0200 or visit www.marriotttheatre.com.
The new season kicks off with Cabaret, beginning January 15, 2014