By Mary (practically perfect in every way) Boyle
Mary Poppins is enjoying a fabulous renaissance, these days. Disney's iconic 1964 film, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, with music by the amazing Sherman brothers, was so treasured it's nearly an impossible act to follow. Based on books by P. L. Travers, the author was one of the few people who hated what Walt Disney did to her stories, and only agreed to the stage musical in 1990 if all of the creators were English, and included nobody who worked on the film. Travers died in 1996, which paved the way for a musical that blended more of Travers' story, but still made use of many of the beloved songs from the film. The resulting musical made its debut in the West End in 2004, and its Broadway debut in 2006. With the new Disney film, Mary Poppins Returns, set to be released this December, it's the perfect time to catch up with everyone's favorite nanny, and you can do it now through November 4th at Sunset Playhouse, as they present Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical.
Utilizing much of the same production team from last season's hit, Into the Woods, as well as several of the players from that cast, Sunset Playhouse brings a version of Mary Poppins to the stage that is both comfortingly familiar and intriguingly fresh. Briana Rose Lipor is exactly how we think Mary Poppins ought to be, while Eric Welch, who was brilliant as Lumiere in last season's Beauty and the Beast at Sunset, is outstanding as Bert. Brant Allen, who was stunning as Dom Claude Frollo in WCT's Hunchback of Notre Dame last season, is nearly identical to the George Banks in the film version of the story, but Carrie A. Gray, who played the Baker's wife in Into the Woods, is a far more realistic and complex Mrs. Banks. Jane and Michael are double cast, with Ella Rose Kleefish, who played Little Red in Into the Woods, and Ella Vitrano taking turns as Jane, and Casey Westphal and Molly Flint taking turns as Michael. These kids are incredibly talented, and the scene-stealers of the show (but keep your eye out for Kassandra Novell as Miss Andrew, as she is definitely a highlight).
Directed by Nate C. Adams, with Music Direction by Mark Mrozek and Choreography by Ashley Patin, Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical is a perfect reminder that there is magic in the ordinary, if we only choose to see it, and that spending time with our families is our best investment. Sunset Playhouse is an intimate community theater, as well as a family-friendly venue; not only is this a practically perfect place to introduce your family to the wonderful world of theatre, this is a practically perfect production.
Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical runs through November 4th at Sunset Playhouse, located at 400 Wall Street in Elm Grove. Tickets can be purchase by calling (262) 782-4430 or online at www.sunsetplayhouse.com. Sunset Playhouse has partnered with the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee for their production of Mary Poppins; please bring a non-perishable food item, which will be collected in the lobby.
About Sunset Playhouse
A Community Theater in the heart of Elm Grove, Sunset produces eight Furlan Auditorium Productions per season consisting of comedies, mysteries, musicals, and dramas. The Playhouse is also home to three professional series: Musical MainStage Concert Series, with six concerts each season; a six-show cabaret series titled SideNotes Cabaret Series; and, a three-show children’s series called Bug in a Rug.