When Mary Poppins was initially announced as a musical production, many theatergoers were a bit leery, fearing an exhausted ploy to attract audiences by appealing to the nostalgia attached to the beloved 1964 Disney film. For once, thankfully, the skeptics were proven wrong. For while the musical does recreate elements of the film (particularly in retaining such numbers as "Chim Chim Cheree," "A Spoonful of Sugar," and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious") the storyline itself was notably refreshed by incorporating elements from author P.L. Traver's original tales of the magical English nanny who brings cheer to the stuffy Banks family. Further surprises were provided through newly composed songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (skillfully blended with the original film compositions by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman), the choreography of Matthew Bourne, and the reworked narrative developed by Downton Abbey scribe Julian Fellowes. Under the experienced direction of Richard Eyre, the end result is a visually dazzling production that manages to appeal to fans of the film while still succeeding as a unique piece of theatrical spectacle. The play's short, eight-date engagement at the Orpheum represents an encore of sorts, as the show, one of the more popular touring works in recent memory, first visited in September 2009. Like the titular character, Mary Poppins's exuberant staging and infectious optimism make for a thoroughly welcome repeat visitor. (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: April 23. Continues through April 28, 2013
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