Friday, July 15, 2016

North Shore Music Theatre Presents "Mary Poppins" - Practically Perfect In Every Way!

The current North Shore Music Theatre production of "Mary Poppins" carries all of the emotional punch of the original Disney film.  This show is a delight for children of all ages. It is artfully directed by Kevin P. Hill, with excellent Musical Direction by Milton Granger. The scenic design by Bert Scott beautifully recreates the skyline and rooftops of London, as well as the home and bank where the Banks family play out their daily dramas. Lighting by Martin E. Vreeland is magical, as are the flying effects by ZFX, Inc.

Kerry Conte is "practically perfect" as Mary Poppins, from her first aerial entrance with umbrella unfurled to her curtain call. Her blend of strict discipline and whimsy is alluring and irresistible - to the previously irascible and spoiled Banks children, as well as to every member of the audience. Her shimmering voice shines in the familiar tunes "Feed The Birds," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and "A Spoonful of Sugar."

Brad Bradley (Bert) and Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins)
Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks)
North Shore Music Theatre
playing July 12 - July 31, 2016
Photo © Paul Lyden.
Ms. Conte's performance is supported by a strong cast of principals and an energetic ensemble of singers and dancers. Brad Bradley makes a very winsome Bert, excelling in "Jolly Holiday," and "Step In Time." As Mr. George Banks, James Andrew Walsh takes his character through a complex emotional arc, culminating in his rediscovering the little boy inside when he joins Jane and Michael in flying kites in the park.  His rendition of "A Man Has Dreams" is a highlight. Molly Garner is rock solid, opining in song what it means to be married to George in "Being Mrs. Banks." It is a plus in this production that the lovely Ms. Garner resembles a young Julie Andrews! The two Banks children are on stage most of the show, and show remarkable professionalism. Scarlett Keene-Connole is the older sister, Jane, and Jake Ryan Flynn plays the stubborn and almost incorrigible Michael. They join with Mary and Mrs. Banks in the charming "A Spoonful of Sugar."

Ellen Peterson does double duty as Mrs. Brill, the Banks' housekeeper and as the Bird Woman, whose plaintive "Feed The Birds" always brings a tear to my eye. Brad Trump has his moment to shine as Neleus the statue come to life to dance for Jane and Michael.

Molly Garner (Winifred Banks) and James Andrew Walsh (George Banks)
Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks)
North Shore Music Theatre's
playing July 12 - July 31, 2016
Photo © Paul Lyden.

This is very much a multi-generational family show.  I saw many groupings that included children, parents and grandparents, all finding delight in the proceedings.  NSMT is offering half price tickets for children under 18.

NSMT Website

ORIGINAL MUSIC & LYRICS: Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman    
BOOK BY: Julian Fellowes    
NEW SONG & ADDITIONAL MUSIC & LYRICS BY: Anthony Drewe & George Stiles    
CO-CREATED BY: Cameron Mackintosh 
A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers & the Walt Disney Film

MARY POPPINS Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Approximately 2 hrs 50 min (includes intermission)

The show runs through July 31st, and should be considered an essential mid-summer excursion.



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