Mary Poppins – The Musical at Tuacahn Amphitheatre

Mary Poppins at Tuacahn Amphitheatre

Mary Poppins has arrived at Tuacahn Amphitheatre in a new musical so extraordinarily enchanting that, like critics, you’ll have just one word for it: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! This is the magical story of the world’s favorite Nanny, triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs like; “Jolly Holiday,” “Step in Time,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Feed the Birds” and more. From dancing park statues to more dancing chimney sweeps, Mary Poppins will have you singing along, and probably dancing in the isles, in no time at all.

Mary Poppins broadway  Musical at Tuacahn Amphitheatre

Mary Poppins is the story of the Banks family who live in a big house in London, at number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, in fact, and while everything from the outside of this house looks like an idyllic English fantasy, things are not going well for the family, the children, Jane and Michael, are completely out of control and desperately need a new nanny. When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears at their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to their prayers, but in the most peculiar way. Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, and misadventures alike, even going as far as to trap old Mss. Andrew in a bird cage! But Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones Mary has a profound effect upon… Your whole family will believe in the magic of Mary Poppins and discover a world where anything can happen, if you let it!

The stage production of Mary Poppins is brilliantly adapted from the cherished stories by P.I. Travers’ and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, MARY POPPINS. The show is currently one of London’s biggest sensations, and features the Sherman brothers’ original Academy Award-winning songs. In collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, the show has been created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has written the book, and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have composed new songs and additional music and lyrics. This Tuacahn production is directed by Peggy Hickey, with choreography by Mara Newbery Greer, and the amazing musical team, supervisor Christopher Babbage, musical director Bryson Baumgartel, and associate music directors Cameron Kinnear, and Daniel Mollett.

Cameron Mackintosh’s stage adaptation of Mary Poppins marks the first collaboration between Disney, producer of such acclaimed productions as THE LION KING, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and TARZAN, and Cameron Mackintosh, legendary producer of record-breaking shows THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, CATS and LES MISERABLES. The musical had its world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome in September 2004, and then moved to the Prince Edward Theatre on London’s West End in December 2004, making it the only Disney musical to have premiered in the UK. This production won 2 Laurence Olivier Award’s for Best Actress and Best Choreography. The Broadway production opened in November 2006, at the New Amsterdam Theatre and won a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design and two Drama Desk Awards, it ran for 6 years before closing in March 2013. The 2019 West End Revival returned to its original home, the Prince Edward Theatre in October 2019 and was awarded the Best Musical Revival by WhatsOnStage and two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Set Design. Mary Poppins has been played in 24 countries, translated into thirteen languages, and has been seen by over 11 million people worldwide.

Tuacahn Amphitheatre mary poppins
This Disney musical looks and sounds magical, even if it’s a few shades weirder than the much-loved movie – Review by Alice Saville for TimeOut at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, February 2022.

“Much like ‘Paddington’, ‘Mary Poppins’ is a gorgeously warm kids’ story that’s burrowed deep into the hearts of Londoners of all ages. It creates a seductive myth of a city that’s awash with cheery cockneys and lovable upper-crust eccentrics who roam picturesque tree-lined streets with a spring in their step. Cameron Mackintosh’s returning 2004 musical version couldn’t look more magical; the Banks family’s Cherry Tree Lane residence becomes a giant doll’s house of wonders, opening up to reveal charming Victorian interiors and plenty of magical surprises.

“Magical! A roof-raising, toe-tapping, high-flying extravaganza!” – The New York Daily News

“Irresistible! Broadway has found a fresh fountain of youth that will make many a grown-up feel like a kid again.” – USA Today

Writer Julian Fellowes (‘Downton Abbey’) is clearly in familiar territory here. Where the ‘Paddington’ movies updated the setting to a warm, inclusive vision of 21st century London, his script opts for period-drama archness. The story is a hodgepodge of the movie, PL Travers’s original books and a few ideas of Fellowes’s own: he shifts the setting back a few decades to Queen Victoria’s heyday, and makes Mrs. Banks a frustrated former actress instead of a militant suffragette. The effect is jarring at first, especially if you’re a fan of the movie: many of its most memorable scenes get scrapped, like the bit where Poppins summons up a hurricane to whisk away rival nannies, or the bit with the dancing penguins and carousel horses, or the ‘I Love to Laugh’ tea party where everyone ends up giggling on the ceiling.

They get replaced with much, much weirder interludes that presumably come from Travers’s original book. The kids’ supposedly jolly day out in the park involves cavorting about with statues that have come to life – represented by grey leotard-clad acrobats with fig leaves pinned awkwardly to their crotches. Joining it in uncanny valley’s dankest reaches is the bit where Jane’s doll comes to life, grows 30 feet tall, and rips the roof off the nursery. I’ll have nightmares, but hopefully kids are made of stronger stuff.

This darkness is typical of a ‘Mary Poppins’ that’s determined to cast off the legacies of the movie’s defining players: Julie Andrews, Dick van Dyke and David Tomlinson. Its titular nanny is milder-mannered and more whimsical; Zizi Strallen plays the role with an oddly doll-like stiffness, full of faintly panto-esque arm gestures, but comes into her own when she’s singing much-loved numbers like ‘A Spoon Full of Sugar’. Charlie Stemp makes a great Bert, with an authentic cockney cheekiness and confident tap routines – especially the show’s climactic ‘Step in Time’ chimney-top spectacular. But Joseph Millson is a bit less convincing as the father of the house, which is a shame, because Fellowes has saved all his writing nuance for the role of this troubled dad.

‘Mary Poppins’ focuses on Mr. Bank’s arc, to become a faintly trite parable about the importance of talking about your feelings; Poppins’s magic is as much psychological as literal, as she gradually finds out that her employer’s stiff upper lip hides a mass of childhood trauma, administered by his (cheekily named) evil childhood nanny Mrs. Andrews. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to dislike Mrs. Andrews, because her number, ‘Fire and Brimstone’, is a rare moment of dramatic conflict in this low stake show, and Claire Moore sells it wonderfully, all operatic trills and high Victorian fury. It’s one of a small but shining handful of new songs by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, which also include the brilliantly catchy ‘Practically Perfect’, and a couple of soulful numbers where Mrs. Banks pours out her faintly underwritten marital disappointments.

Half-baked story aside, ‘Mary Poppins’ serves up everything you could want in a mega-budget family musical: memorable songs, dazzling visuals and a nostalgic ideal of a London that never existed. It’s supercalifragelistically good fun to visit for an hour or three.”

Mary Poppins musical tickets

IT’S EYE-‘POPPIN’ – New York Daily News

“The show is bursting with dazzling stagecraft, stunning design, old-fashioned storytelling virtues and genuine charm.” – Variety

Mary Poppins tickets