Mary Poppins, Stage & Music, Magical Performance!

“Winds in the east, mist coming in, like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before…”

So begins the tale of Disney’s Mary Poppins, as sung by Bert, Mary’s dear “jack-of-all-trades” friend who serves as a kind of narrator throughout this classic (masterpiece even) telling of PL Travers’ fantastical stories. It never ceases to amaze me just how well acquainted the world is with Disney’s Poppins. Everyone seems to know the multi-purposeful “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” (fewer know how to actually spell it, and even fewer go so far as saying it backwards). How many kids have leaped off a patio, opened umbrella in hand, hoping to float down as effortlessly as Mary Poppins can? Us DisNerds especially: how many times a week, day even, do you say that something is simply “practically perfect”, and any other Poppins-related remarks? Mary Poppins is so definitively Disney, in my opinion. (If aliens visit this Earth, and ask what one film best showcases Disney, I’m popping in Poppins. DOn’t ask me how they already know what Disney is.) The film is quite like Mary’s famous carpet bag; You may have just 2 hours or so of film, but it just keeps surprising you with the amount of magic and heart that it contains.

Gosh, I’m sure Poppins has been on your mind a lot recently. It certainly is on the tip of a lot of folks’ tongues as of late, DisNerd or not. With Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” coming to theaters later this year, no doubt you’ve seen its recently released trailer. (If not, enjoy the preview HERE!) We’ve talked Poppins a few times on this blog, and no doubt we’ll be talkin’ Poppins a lot more on this blog.

While all of you are discussing how close (or far) Tom Hanks’ actually resembles Mr. Disney, I’d like to bring up a side of Mary Poppins that I saw for the first time this July.

This was taken moments after the show had finished. I'm glowing with that "dream just came true" glow, I suppose.

This was taken moments after the show had finished. I’m glowing with that “dream just came true” glow, I suppose.

The winds were blowing in the right direction, and a trip to St. George, UT perfectly coincided with a local theater’s showing of Disney’s “Mary Poppins: A New Musical”. My experience with Disney’s theatrical productions have been few, but absolutely memorable. I remember seeing a touring production of Beauty and the Beast as a pretty young kid, and there are moments of the show that I’ve yet to forget. (“Be Our Guest” had me in awe.) Seeing a professionally performed Disney Broadway show always seemed like an out-of-reach dream for me growing up, not unlike my current dream of experiencing Disneyland Paris. (Mary Poppins touring production stopped in Salt Lake City, UT two years ago, but as stated in my previous blog posting, I was ecclesiastically committed to another project that had me unable to attend.) I discovered this past weekend, the same quality I’ve come to expect from Disney’s other endeavors stands true for its musicals.

A broad-view of the desert's Broadway: the Tuacahn Ampitheater in St. George, Utah. Imagine seeing Ms. Poppins's silhouette cast on those red-rock cliffs. "Coo, what a sight!"

A broad-view of the desert’s Broadway: the Tuacahn Ampitheater in St. George, Utah. Imagine seeing Ms. Poppins’s silhouette cast on those red-rock cliffs. “Coo, what a sight!”

The venue certainly lent itself to some incredible effects. Seeing Mary Poppins soar through this red rock canyon would be an incredibly fulfilling moment for any self-respecting DisNerd. You can imagine how thrilled I was to see Admiral Boom shooting off fireworks throughout the final bars of “Step In Time”, knowing fully well that such an effect was not a part of the original production. The cast was so enjoyable. They carried such an energy that had the audience in all-smiles from start until end.

Yes, I know, and you’ve probably already thought this as you’ve read this post, “This shmuck didn’t even see a legitimate Disney production!” and that’s true. I didn’t see Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee. I didn’t see any touring company. And I may have just invalidated any point I’ve been trying to make throughout this article.

Oops.

I did get a neat t-shirt out of it all, and that’s gotta count for something. No? Drat. Well c’mon, watch the preview they made. You’ll see that what I saw wasn’t too far a cry from Broadway.

I’ll say this much… It was an incredibly magical moment to see a Disney classic brought to life. It was a wholly unique experience, oh-so different from the Poppins I knew before, and yet it all felt so familiar as well. In struggling to come up with some witty way to end this post with, here’s what I produced: I’ve got a fev’ah, and the only subscription is mo’ Disney Theatrical Productions. I so look forward to the next Disney show that I see. Here’s hoping the wind will blow you and in the direction of the Great White Way!

Take the time to enjoy this wonderful musical number, “Step In Time” from the Original Broadway Cast of Disney’s Mary Poppins. (What’s the best part? It’s free!)

So DisNerds, have you ever been to a Disney show? What shows have you seen? Any recommendations you’d make?

(PS: Kudos to those who sang the post’s title to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”!)

3 thoughts on “Mary Poppins, Stage & Music, Magical Performance!

  1. How awesome is that? That amiptheater is GORGEOUS by the way! I don’t know that I could remain focused on the stage with all of that beauty surrounding!

  2. Wow, what a beautiful place to see that! Just the colors in that photo, dang. Step in Time was probably my favorite number next to Feed the Birds. I had the opportunity to see Ashley Brown as Mary when she was touring a few years ago. I remember everything and I couldn’t help but get a little teary when she flew away off into the audience from the Banks residence. Really magical. I was totally entranced!

    As for Disney productions I’ve seen Lion King and Beauty and the Beast done with Broadway casts. Saw LK when I was maybe 10 or 11 and I still remember it vividly like it was yesterday. B&B was the very first theatrical production I ever saw very young. I remember the colors if anything.

    I recommend both, but everyone has to see LK at least once in their life. Really spectacular. I still want to see Little Mermaid one day and when Aladdin comes to Broadway you bet your bottom dollar I’m gonna be first in line for that! Shoot! So soooo sooooo excited! I also think Hunchback needs to come to Broadway. This show has incredible musical potential and is totally underrated. I think this is a story that needs to keep being retold. Could be totally epic. (I have a strong emotional attachment to this film, so excuse my feels). Anyone with me on that?

    I had the pleasure of doing B&B as a high school production and a Disney musical revue show. Something always feels different even when doing these types of shows. Everyone seems so much more giddy and smiley, and the audience smiles is something I won’t soon forget.

    Oh yes, and Newsies! Has anyone seen this? I’d love to take my mother to see this show. As she is the biggest Newsies fan on earth that I know.

  3. I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast quite a few times – that show was just meant for the stage. I felt that way when I heard Menken and Ashman’s score and lyrics before even seeing the movie! To see it translated on stage is just awesome. Lion King was good, but not my cup of tea. Well done, nonetheless!

    What I’m now looking most forward to is the play adaptation of “Peter and the Starcatcher” based off of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s book of ALMOST the same name! (The “s” was left off of Starcatcher.) I hopefully will get to see that next spring!

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