Somewhat Recommended Classic Disney returned to The Cadillac Palace Theatre tonight in the form of “Mary Poppins” the hit musical that was created from the Disney Film. Back in 2009 the touring production played at the same theater to sell out crowds in its 18 week engagement. This time it is here for a much shorter trip as it heads for points throughout the Midwest. The movie version starring the marvelous Julie Andrews as Mary and the smashing diverse Dick VanDyke as Bert is a family favorite and the play version, while it does not have the magic of the mixture of film and animation, does have some magical moments of its own. Mary Poppins ( a rousing performance by Rachel Wallace) does fly in and out and makes a startling final departure that will have kids heads turning toward the sky; Bert ( a very talented Nicolas Dromard) who also serves as storyteller does a dance during the “Step In Time” that will knock your socks off, as he dances up the side wall, then taps while upside down and then comes down the other side. his is a number that is truly a show stopper and worth the price of the ticket on its own.
The 2 1/2 hour show is a bit long and being a touring company, everything is not always perfect. i found the lighting to be a little dark, the kids, Michael (Dakota Ruiz and also Reese Sebastian Diaz) and Jane (Annie Baltic and also Camden Angelis) while very cute are hard to understand as they rattle through many of their lines and the sound ( which is under normal circumstances near perfect at The Cadillac Palace) was a bit hard to hear. In fact, with the exception of MsWallace and Mr. Dromard, I found most of the principle roles to be so-so. I did however truly enjoy the ensemble and their fierce energy in making the huge production numbers take on a life of their own. Numbers such as “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”,”Supercaliifragilisticexpialidocious” along with the “Step In Time” ( some of the best work by the Sherman Brothers) are played well by these energetic dancers singers.
The story is a classic. A father to busy working to spend time with his family, so a Nanny is hired. In fact, many are hired , each leaving due to the treatment from the children, who want to be a family. The father was somewhat raised with a Nanny and is under the impression that if you do not live this way, others will not respect you. Mary Poppins blows into town to help bring this family back to where they should be- a family, loving and caring. It is sweet, almost saccharin, but the point does get through and in today’s world, one where many couples do not spend enough quality time with their kids, perhaps seeing this will open their eyes and Mary Poppins can bring some of the magic back into their lives.
I cannot give this the rating I would like to as it is not as sleek as typical Broadway In Chicago productions. The positive is the big numbers, the strong ensemble, the story itself and the fact that tickets start at $25 ( so a family could watch this together). The production will continue through November 6th with performances as follows:
Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.,Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.,Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at all Broadway In Chicago box offices, the Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at 800-775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com where you can also get more ticket prices and make sure on the schedule which is always subject to change