Two years ago, I had the inestimable pleasure of seeing the Disney/Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre, on Broadway. At the time, I was dealing with my new normal of being visually impaired. A trip to New York was both exhilarating and anxiety provoking, especially since I am normally the one my immediate family relies upon for navigation in the city. Well, in spite of some serious reservations, we secured tickets to see Mary Poppins one morning, and high-tailed it to the train, making it just in time to catch a quick bite before being ushered into the beautifully restored New Amsterdam. Because of my new status of “legally blind”, I was granted second row seating on the aisle, which gave us a fantastic, close up view of the entire show.
For those who do not know me that well, I am kind of jaded when it comes to big productions. My wife loves just about any show with moving sets and good music, and Mary Poppins certainly delivers on that level. I, on the other hand, find my mind frequently wanders as I work out how a particular set piece is moved, or the way a particular lighting effect is done; having seen the watchworks for many different shows from back stage, I find myself more interested in the mechanics rather than the story. Every once in a while though, I do find myself swept up in the magic, and this was one such show. The fact that I enjoyed the movie as a child (I was all of two years old when it came out), and have been enamored of Julie Andrew’s voice throughout my community theatre career, probably put me in the right frame of mind to start with. I had seen several YouTube videos of clips of the show, starring the London West-End cast, which primed me for what was to come. When I looked in my Playbill and discovered that the actors playing both Mary Poppins and Bert had originated those roles in the West-End, and I was going to see THEM perform mere feet from where I was sitting… well, I was hooked.
Mary Poppins is returning to The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford this month, and if you haven’t seen it yet, take advice from my whole family… and GO! If you don’t laugh, cry and cheer at the top of your lungs, you’re even more jaded than me!
Here’s the video that hooked me, and believe me when I tell you, seeing it live is 150% better.